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ECI closes £255m eighth mid-market fund

The UK mid-market buyout house has announced the final close of its latest vehicle four months after launch.

London-headquartered ECI Partners has held the first and final close of its latest private equity fund on £255 million (€372 million; $481 million).

The latest vehicle, ECI 8, was launched in December 2004 and received commitments from a total of 26 unnamed investors. 75 percent of the commitment came from investors in previous ECI funds.

We took the decision to cap the fund up front because we did not want to be forced into going up in deal size or having too large a portfolio of investments.

 Janet Brooks, director ECI

The fund attracted 50 percent of its commitments from UK-based limited partners, with the remaining 50 percent split evenly between US and European investors.

Commenting on the oversubscribed fund, ECI’s director in charge of fundraising Janet Brooks told PEO: “It’s a crowded fundraising marketplace and there seemed to be lots of investor appetite for single-country, mid-market funds. Due to demand, we didn’t go out to a huge number of new investors.”

In a statement, Brooks also said: “We took the decision to cap the fund up front because we did not want to be forced into going up in deal size or having too large a portfolio of investments.”

ECI worked on the fundraising with Deloitte, the professional services group, which acted as placement advisor.  

The fund has not made any investments to date and its predecessor, the £175 million ECI 7, is understood to be close to being fully invested at this stage.

The firm had a record investment year in 2004, completing five investments with an average equity investment size of £12 million. The firm also completed two realisations, restaurant chain Tragus and financial organisation Think Money Group, returning 50 percent of called capital to investors, according to a statement.

ECI 8 was raised in compliance with the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS), which are voluntary ethical standards for calculating and presenting performance results of investment firms in a comparable way to help standardise industry-wide disclosure.