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Private Equity Buyout Fund Performance by Geographic Focus – December 2012

by Vasilisa Starodubtseva

  • 07 Dec 2012
  • PE

Using Preqin’s Performance Analyst, it is possible to compare the median returns of buyout funds by their primary geographic focus. Performance Analyst currently holds performance data for over 1,400 buyout funds, 396 of which have a predominantly European focus and 875 of which have a predominantly North American focus.

Comparing the two geographies it is evident that funds of vintages prior to the crisis, 2000-2006, report higher return figures than funds of vintages 2007-2009. Funds of vintages 2000 to 2006 with a primary focus on Europe generally report higher returns than those which invest predominantly in North America.  Indeed, the highest median returns among the entire sample are those of European-focused funds, reporting a median net IRR of 29.8% for 2002 vintage buyout funds, in comparison to 16.1% for North American-focused funds of the same vintage.

Despite the significant difference in returns for the earlier vintages, vintage 2006 funds report similar median return figures irrespective of geographical focus: 7% for European funds, 7.8% for North American funds, and 7.5% for the entire buyout fund sector. However, the gap widens again for vintage 2009 buyout funds: primarily North American-focused funds of this vintage have a median net IRR of 13.0%. This is in contrast to European funds, which report median returns of around 7% for vintage 2007-2009 funds, highlighting the market volatility and ongoing concerns over the European sovereign debt crisis. It is however important to note that these funds are still early in their fund lives, and performance is likely to change as the funds mature.

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