UK - Henderson Global Investors has announced the launch of a Pan-European 'active engagement' fund, to invest in what it describes as the recovery of wilting companies.

According to Henderson, its new fund targets private equity-style returns in the public markets through active engagement with the companies in which we invest.

The fund, which is aimed at institutional investors and family offices, will be highly concentrated, investing in a maximum of 10 companies listed on the European stock exchanges, taking stakes of 5-20% in firms with market capitalisations of between £100m (€125bn) to £1bn.

Target returns are set at 15-20% a year on a rolling three-year basis, according to John Havranek, who will head up the new offering.

Richard Acworth, spokesman for Henderson, told IPE the active engagement fund's nature is different from a private equity approach which usually sees funds financially gear up the firm, then strip it out and sell it on.

"Our approach is to use the managing director and the finance professionals from specific industries related to the companies we invest in, so we speak and engage with the management to effect change in that business," he added.

Henderson will use the business recovery team of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and its panel of independent turnaround directors, made up of, for instance, chairmen, chief executives, finance and other operational directors.

Together with this panel, Henderson intends to engage with the management and effect change to the business in which the fund invests.

Acworth was adamant the new fund will not focus on stripping out managers or calling for mass sackings: "It's about assessing their operational, management, and their financial strategy."

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