Riverside launches third Euro fund

The Riverside Company has launched its third European fund, seeking $280m in commitments.

The Riverside Company has launched a follow up to Riverside Europe Fund II, seeking $280.3 million (€232 million) in commitments for the successor. The firm has already closed on $19.5 million for the new vehicle.

Babson Capital Management, CM Life Insurance Company and Spelman College are three limited partners that have already committed to the fund, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Babson has previously acted as a co-investor in Riverside’s European deals, including the firm’s acquisition last summer of Danish manufacturer Welltec.

Riverside has been active in Europe since 1990, beginning with advisory services to help privatize and restructure businesses in Central Europe. The firm’s first fund dedicated to the region was raised in 1997, and to date Riverside has invested in 13 European companies, based on figures provided by its Web site.

Most recently, the firm has booked acquisitions of Budapest-based hematology equipment manufacturer Diatron and General Electric’s former European home-heating services unit, Sentinel.

In addition to its US offices, the firm has a presence in Munich, Prague, Warsaw and Budapest. Former White Eagle Industries chief Antonio Cabral heads Riverside’s European group, having joined the firm in 2000. He is based in its Prague office.

The firm has notched a few realisations out of its European vehicles. Riverside’s inaugural Europe fund, Riverside Central Europe Fund, sold Czech abrasives maker Carborundum Electrite last year, yielding a 1.6x return multiple and disposed of Spofa Dental in a 2003 exit that generated a 3x cash-on-cash return.

Calls to Riverside were not returned by press time.