The UK’s North East Scotland and Clwyd pension funds are backing a Unigestion private equity fund, which has achieved its first close and invested in a UK-based oil and gas company and a supplier to life science companies.

More than €100m has been committed to Unigestion Direct Opportunities 2015 (UDO 2015), more than half the target size of €200m.

The fund has attracted support from existing and new investors, according to the asset manager, including the £3.2bn (€4.1bn) North East Scotland Pension Fund and £1.4bn Clwyd Pension Fund.

Paul Newsome, head of investment management for private equity at Unigestion, said the asset manager had a “significant pipeline” of interest in the fund from new investors.

UDO 2015 is focused on investing in 12-15 privately owned companies around the world, with enterprise values of less than €1bn.

The fund has completed its first investments, in Zennor Petroleum, a UK-based oil and gas company, and US-based BioreclamationIVT (BioIVT), which provides biological products used in drug discovery research by life sciences and pharma companies.

Zennor specialises in the appraisal and development of hydrocarbons in the North Sea, where, according to Unigestion, “there currently exists an opportunity to buy multiple high-quality assets at very attractive prices”.

Zennor recently acquired a subsidiary of First Oil Expro, a UK oil and gas producer that entered into administration.

Unigestion invested alongside sector specialist Kerogen Capital.

For its investment in BioIVT, Unigestion partnered with Arsenal Capital, another sector specialist.

North East Scotland Pension Fund, administered by Aberdeen City Council, had a benchmark asset allocation of 10% to alternatives, including private equity, as of the financial year 2014-15.

Clwyd Pension Fund, administered by Flintshire County Council, had a 10% allocation to private equity as at 31 March 2015.

Read more about investment opportunities and driving forces in the energy sector in the May edition of IPE Magazine