Preqin’s latest issue of Private Equity Spotlight demonstrated that fundraising focusing on Southern Europe* increased markedly during 2014, with aggregate capital raised quadrupling from 2013’s total. Following the outcome of the recent Greek elections and the ongoing uncertainty regarding the future of the single European currency, it will be interesting to see if a positive trend continues over the course of 2015. Preqin data shows that the majority of Southern Europe-focused private equity fundraising takes a ’multi-regional’ approach, with fund managers largely preferring to maintain a wide geographic scope for opportunities, as opposed to just investing in one Southern European state.
Fund managers globally that focus on one or more countries within Southern Europe have raised a total of €387bn over the last decade. Italy-focused funds raised just €8.3bn in capital over the last 10 years, which represents the highest amount committed to an individual country in Southern Europe. Clessidra Capital Partners, a Milan-based firm, accumulated €1.9bn in capital over the last 10 years, the highest amount for a firm focused exclusively on Italy.
Portugal ranks second, with an aggregate €2.2bn raised over the last decade focused on the country. The largest private equity firm targeting this country is ECS Capital, a Lisbon-based fund manager that targets buyout, distressed and venture capital opportunities within its own country. ECS has raised €1.9bn in the last decade, a significant majority of the total capital raised for Portugal in the same timeframe.
Spain lies third in the list of top Southern European countries in terms of capital raised over the last decade solely directed towards the country, having accumulated €1.6bn. Corpfin Capital has raised the greatest amount over the last decade among those firms exclusively focusing on Spain. The firm, based in Madrid, has raised €368mn over the last 10 years and specifically targets buyout and venture capital opportunities, although it remains industry-agnostic.
As countries in Southern Europe, such as Spain, Portugal and Italy, gather momentum in their economic recovery, private equity investors and fund managers across the globe are recognizing the investment opportunities available in the region. The strong fundraising figures of 2014 indicate a belief among investors that the continent offers good value; it will be interesting to see if this growth in private equity activity continues through 2015, against a seemingly volatile economic landscape.
*For this blog Southern Europe is defined by UN standards as the following: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain and Macedonia.