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Ahead of the investment curve in the Balkans

As an investor dedicated to the region, East Capital Asset Management is in the vanguard of a growing breed. Oonagh Leighton reports.

Peter Elam Håkansson: A long-term love affair

By Oonagh Leighton

THE BALKANS MIGHT seem like forbidden territory for many investors but the region holds no fears for Peter Elam Håkansson. He is poised to launch an equity fund in the region, his second in as many years.

“There is still a lot of privatization left to be done in the Balkans and we see a lot of investment opportunities in the region. Just look at Bulgaria, where the privatization of the Bulgarian Telecommunication Company last year boosted the stock market by 40%. This fund will capitalize on opportunities like that,” says Håkansson, who is chairman and founder member of East Capital Asset Management in Stockholm.

The 43-year-old is no stranger to these frontier markets. With close to $1.2 billion invested in the Balkans, via several investment vehicles, East Capital is one of the biggest investors in the region. It is also one of the most successful. The firm’s East Capital Eastern European Fund posted returns of close to 90% last year and its funds consistently outperform the MSCI Eastern Europe index. Out of all the emerging market funds covered by Bloomberg, East Capital Bering Russia ranks first, with a one-year performance of 118%.

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