Candover unveils Central and Eastern Europe team

The UK-listed private equity firm has drawn on talent from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to staff its Central and Eastern Europe team.

Candover, the London-listed private equity group, has unveiled its four-strong investment team charged with sourcing opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe.

The team, which is to be run by former JPMorgan Partners European head Lindsay Stuart, will source deals across the Baltic and Balkan states and the Western CIS countries.

As the CEE team is expected to execute deals predominantly in the sub €50 million ($73 million) bracket, which is below the remit of Candover’s 2008 fund, the majority of deals will be funded by the balance sheet of the firm’s listed parent company Candover Investments.

However, opportunities to invest more than €50 million equity in any one deal will first be offered to the 2008 fund.

Before Stuart helped build up JPMorgan Partners European business, he worked for both Cinven and PPM. He was also private equity adviser to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) from 2000 to 2005.

Joining Stuart as directors are Urmas Paavel, former head of the EBRD’s private equity unit; Felix Potishman, an EBRD banker specialising in retail and FMCG deals; and Milan Hladik, a direct fund management veteran, also from the EBRD.

Details of the new team were revealed as part of Candover’s interim results announcement on Wednesday.

The firm experienced a marginal decrease in net asset value per share from 2065 pence in December to 2051 pence, which incorporated favourable currency movements to the tune of 87 pence per share.

“Although no company can be immune from the economic pressures facing Europe, our portfolio is in good shape, and we continue to believe that this is a good time to invest with company valuations and debt multiples back to more sensible levels. Realisations, however, will be harder to achieve,” said Gerry Grimstone, chairman of Candover Investments, in a statement.

The market reacted indifferently to the results with a marginal share price fall.

In March Candover began marketing its 2008 Fund with a target of €5 billion. The fund held its first close in August with commitments of €2.8 billion, including €1 billion from Candover Investments.