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Croatia: Private equity firms get busy

Local players and foreign firms show interest; Expansion capital and turnaround opportunities sought

It’s not just tourists that find Croatia an attractive destination, private equity firms have also increased their involvement in the country recently.

The latest deal in the Croatian alternative investment market involved local player Nexus Private Equity Partners purchasing 100% of drugstore chain Kozmo from leading retailer Konzum. Konzum is owned by Croatia’s richest man, Ivica Todoric. Established in July 2005, Kozmo has 43 stores with 240 workers and it is believed that Todoric has been looking for a buyer for it since July. He decided that Kozmo was struggling to compete with the market leader in Croatia, Germany’s Drogerie Markt, which has around a 25% market share.

Nexus board member Marko Makek, however, believes that there is more than enough scope for Kozmo to develop further and Nexus is looking to double the size of its network over the next two years. The purchase was funded through the Nexus Alpha Fund, which had its first close in October 2008, raising €36 million from a mix of institutional investors, high-net-worth individuals and corporate investors. The fund is the largest private equity fundraising in Croatia to date.

Investments rise
Founded in 2008, Nexus provides private equity and venture capital financing in three areas: real estate development, equity investments in medium- to large-sized organizations undertaking expansion; and seed financing for ventures with high growth potential.

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