EUROPE - Private equity firms have clearly "notched up their activity on all fronts" in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), as evidenced by the growth in fundraising and exits in 2010, according to the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (EVCA).

EVCA said private equity and VC firms were very successful in fundraising in the region region, with new funds growing by €645m (£578m) - a 60% increase over the last two years.

By comparison, the Continent as a whole grew by 13% over the same period.

Divestment value also displayed strong numbers, growing by almost 130% to €300m. This growth was supported by corporations, which comprised about two-fifths of divestment buyers, EVCA said.

Despite this, private equity investment value fell from €2.5bn to €1.3bn, as there were not many large buyouts in 2009.

Overall, investments were highly concentrated in Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Hungary, which combined made up 94% of total private equity investment in 2010.

Poland alone attracted more than 50% of total investment.

Robert Manz, chairman of EVCA's CEE task force, said the region had shown great resilience.

"Investment levels were strong despite the lack of large-sized buyout transactions seen in the previous year," he said.

"Firms across the region clearly notched up their activity on all fronts, a dynamic that continues throughout 2011.

"Expect the convergence play of CEE to re-emerge as a central theme for those active in this geography."