Advent International has opened its office in the Ukraine.
Tamas Nagy has been appointed head of the Kiev office and Natalie Polischuk as principal.
PEO revealed Advent’s plans to open in Kiev a few months ago. The move is the end of a wider reorganisation of the company, according to the buyout firm’s spokeswoman.
The company opened an office in Prague in May and it also has offices in Poland and Romania. Advent used to have an office in Hungary but this operation is now run out of the Prague office. It is active in Slovakia, Turkey and the Baltic states.
The spokeswoman said: “We view the Ukraine as similar to European Union members Bulgaria and Romania and not in the same in the same light as Russia. This is because of its stronger regulatory framework and legal infrastructure.” The firm does not intend to open operations in Russia in the near future, she said.
Polischuk came to Advent from Delta Private Equity Partners in Moscow where she was a partner. Nagy joined Advent in 2003 from ING Barings. He has been building the company’s Ukraine network during the last year.
Polischuk said: “Nobody has done a leveraged buyout yet in Ukraine and there are a number of companies mature enough to be bought by a company like Advent. The timing is right to open an office because more and more companies are pursuing transparency and governance in the region. It’s still not western Europe but industries are growing at a double digit rate.”
The move illustrates the growing interest in the Ukraine among 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.
In June, Warburg Pincus took part in $100 million funding round into Ukrainian consumer lending business IMB Group, alongside local buyout firm Horizon Capital and other investors.
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.