EQT plugs Finnish gap

The firm hopes the hire of Thomas Ramsay, formerly head of its European rival Industri Kapital's Finnish team, will reinvigorate the business, which has not done any deals since 2005.

EQT Partners, the Northern European buyout firm has recruited Thomas Ramsay, who left rival Industri Kapital ahead of its most recent fundraising, to head up its Finnish operations.

EQT began restructuring its Helsinki team last year.

It parted company with three of its senior investment professionals in August. Partner Juha Lindfors and directors Panu Halonen and Antti-Pekka Kääriäinen have all left the Finnish office, an investor told PEO at the time. Petri Myllyneva – Ramsay’s predecessor, who joined the firm in September 2005 – moved to a new role, according to the source.

Ramsay has been appointed partner within the firm’s equity business line and head of EQT Partners in Finland. Udo Philipp, interim head of EQT Equity Finland since mid-2007, will return full time to his position as partner in Germany.

Ramsay has more than 10 years of Private Equity experience from Industri Kapital in London and Stockholm where he was a partner and, between 2003 and 2006, responsible for their Finnish team. He worked on numerous transactions, most recently the acquisition and merger of the daily goods retail businesses of Tradeka and Wihuri. Before IK, he was with Salomon Brothers in London and Ahlcorp in Finland.

“Finland is a strategically important market and we see many investment opportunities in Finland for all of EQT Partners business lines – equity, opportunity, expansion capital and infrastructure,” said Thomas von Koch, head of EQT Equity.

The revamp was designed to renew EQT’s Finnish operation, and help the Helsinki office replicate the firm’s performance elsewhere in Europe. “The other offices in the network are moving forward exponentially, and the Finnish office has not been keeping pace,” an investor said. “The firm wants to bring the same level of dynamism as it has elsewhere.”

The Swedish firm has been investing in Finland throughout its history, even launching a €138 million fund dedicated to the country in 1999. Its first buyout came with the acquisition of telecoms supplier Perlos in 1996, and it has since made a total of eight investments in the country. However, it has not done a deal there since December 2005, when it provided expansion capital to PaloDEx, and it has not completed a buyout since the acquisition of Sanitec, from EQT IV, in April of that year.