Pragma closes second fund on €345m

The experienced French team has raised their first independent fund as they relish the end of “crazy” prices.

French mid-market firm Pragma Capital has closed its second fund on €345 million ($520.8 million) breaking its original target of €300 million.

It is the firm’s first independent fund since it bought out original cornerstone investors French banks Credit Agricole and Credit Lyonaise in 2004, which owned a 45 percent stake in the management company. The firm’s four founding partners came from Credit Agricole and Credit Lyonaise in-house private equity teams, two from each. 

It has marketing on the back of its November 2002 fund which raised €236 million.

The fund was comprised of 50 percent French investors and 50 percent wider European investors including French insurer Axa, French bank BNP Paribas and Belgian investment company GIMV.

Founding partner Stéphane Monmousseau said: “We have plenty of time to invest. Market conditions mean there are fewer opportunities at present because sellers and buyers have different expectations. Banks are financing much less than they used to do, which I think is a good thing.”

The decline in the market would bring an end to “crazy” prices given the present macroeconomic outlook and would provide his firm with choice opportunities in which to invest, Monmousseau said.

The firm unusually has six senior partners. James Coleman, who acted as placement agent for the fund at accountant Deloitte, said: “Having a lot of senior management fits the mid-market. It’s about dealing with smaller businesses and helping them grow fast, which often involves investing in a family-owned business where senior management issues do occur.”