Private equity: Balkan funds take small steps
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CAPITAL MARKETS

Private equity: Balkan funds take small steps

ACCORDING TO PRIVATE equity adviser Almeida Capital, private equity funds worldwide raised $225 billion in 2005. So how much of that was earmarked for investment in the Balkans?

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Peterman, KD Private Equity “Given the relatively small size of companies in the region, you have to adopt a generalist rather than a sector-specific approach”
Matjaz Peterman, KD Private Equity

A measly $100 million or so is the London-based firm’s best guess. “Private equity is still very much in its infancy in the region,” admits Zoran Mitic, director of South East Europe Capital Partners (Seecap), a Belgrade-based consultancy whose activities include identifying potential targets for private equity investment in Serbia. So is he downhearted about the growth prospects for the asset class? Not at all. “We’re starting to receive expressions of interest not just from small regional funds, but also major US and European private equity funds,” he says.

So having been off most investors’ radar screens until recently, is the Balkans set to be the next big private equity play in emerging Europe? Yes and no seems to be the answer from market participants. Although there is a clear need for private equity investment across the whole region, the small scale of the funding needs of many of the companies in the Balkans means that it is still likely to remain the preserve of specialist firms for the time being at least.



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