SWEDEN – Altor Equity Partners has closed its first private equity fund at Euros 650 million, well ahead of its initial target of Euros 500 million after a successful placement.

The Stockholm-based Nordic middle market buyout specialist launched the Altor 2003 Fund in February this year and reached its close ahead of schedule and well oversubscribed compared to initial target, the promoters said.

Some 40 leading Nordic and international institutions invested in the fund, with 25% of the commitments by value coming from the Nordic region, 35% from the rest of Europe and 40% from the US.

Investors include: Adam Street Partners, Allianz Capital, Goldman Sachs Privare Equity Group, Harvard Management Company, Local Government Pensions Institution of Finland, NIB Capital, Nordea Private Equity, Nordic Advisors (on behalf of Lansforsakingar Liv), Pantheon Ventures, Princeton University Investment Company, Skandia Life, Investment Fund for Foundations and funds advised by Standard life Investments.

Altor will build its portfolio of investment over three to four years. It sees a strong need among the Nordic middle market companies segment for active professional ownership of businesses that no longer fit into larger corporate structures and also of family-run enterprises. Current conditions in financial markets limits the financing options available to these companies.

The CIO of Altor is Harald Mix, a co-founder and former deputy CEO of Industri Kapital. His co-partners include Johan Cervin, formerly a private equity partner at Nordic law firm Vinge, Frederik Stromholm, previously with Goldman Sachs International and Denis Viet-Jacobsen, formerly head of Nordic region for Intermediate Capital Group. All told, Altor has a team of 11, and will be expanding later in 2003.

Mix commented: “We believe investors have been particularly attracted to our focus on the middle market segment – by refocusing strategy and carrying out fundamental operating and financial performance improvements, we can create significant value for our investors.”

The fund was placed by Helix Associates in London and Monument Group of Boston. John Barber of Helix said: “This has been a highly successful fundraising exercise, particularly for a first time fund. The timescale within which the fund was raised was remarkable.” Legal advisers to the fund was law firm Ashurst Morris Crisp.