Advent International, one of the leading private equity investors in Central and Eastern Europe, is set to extend its network in the region by opening an office in the Ukraine.
The move illustrates the growing interest in the Ukraine amongst regional private equity specialists. The country has a large population of about 47 million with a common language and culture – a tempting consumer market for foreign companies. At the same time, the economy is growing rapidly, with president Viktor Yushchenko pushing for further integration with the European Union. The country also has a flourishing stock market, which has grown ten-fold since the start of the decade.
Advent is looking to bounce back from the recent loss of key personnel. Its alumni have been targeted by new entrants to the region, who have been looking to establish a local presence by buying in talent from a specialist group. Khai Tan, head of Advent’s Polish operation, was poached by Bridgepoint Capital to head up its new team in the region, while Zoltan Toth, another Advent alumnus, recently joined 3i’s burgeoning CEE effort.
However, the source said that Advent has now appointed a replacement for Tan, and that its deal activity in the region was continuing apace. The buyout firm recently completed a full exit from Bulgarian telecoms group BTC, which was sold to AIG Capital Partners for just over €1 billion ($1.3 billion) in the region’s biggest ever deal.
Advent declined to comment.