Pension funds are largest PE investors in Europe

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EUROPE- Pension funds were the biggest investors of private equity funds in 2001, accounting for 277 of funds raised (e9.8bn), according to the quarterly newsletter of the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association.

In 2001, e38.2bn was raised in private equity funds, 20% less than in 2000, but a 50% increase on 1999. Of this e38.2bn, pension funds as a source of capital accounted for 27% of investments, banks 24% and insurance companies 13%.

Regionally, the UK raised the most significant amount of funds – 54% (e20.4bn) of the European total amount - followed by France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Spain. Non-European countries raised e12.8bn, no change from 2000. The US showed an increasing interest in European private equity, providing one quarter of funds raised by European companies.

In terms of where the money was invested, Germany once again led Europe in the highest number of investments, with 2,311, although this is 700 less than in 2000. The UK received the highest amount of money invested – e13.2bn, from 2,054 investments.

Allocation of funds raised in 2001 differed considerably from the previous year. The proportion of funds raised for buyouts increased to e21.5bn. By sector, high-technology saw a decrease of 38%. Consumer related companies, closely followed by communications companies saw the majority of investments.

The newsletter reports 2001 to have been the highest year for European divestment with e9.6bn divested, predominantly via trade sales.

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