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Sentiment lift in Italy puts fundraising in fashion
In recent years, firms have struggled to raise capital to invest in Italy. During 2013 and 2014, only one fund closed per year, according to data provider Preqin.
Richard Damming, a vice president at fund of funds manager Adveq, said that amid a recession and debt crisis in the country, “the unstable political environment meant that many investors did not feel comfortable to deploy large amounts of capital in Italy”.
However, a number of local firms are now taking advantage of a change in investor sentiment to raise fresh capital.
Investindustrial, a Southern-European focused private equity firm, has begun discussions with investors about its sixth fund, targeting €2 billion, according to three people familiar with the matter. The fund will officially come to market at the end of the year. Investindustrial has hired investment bank Lazard to help with the fundraising.
Meanwhile, Milan-based Clessidra, which owns fashion house Roberto Cavalli is also in market attempting to raise €1 billion for deals in Italy. In May, the firm held a first close of more than €400 million.
Alcedo, an Italian lower-mid-market private equity firm, aims to raise €175 million for its latest fund, while 21 Investimenti, the Italian arm of Paris-based 21 Partners, is looking to amass €300 million for its third fund, according to Preqin.
Italy has become attractive to investors again following economic reforms and the country’s emergence from a recession in the first quarter of 2015.
Damming said that while investor confidence in Spain-focused fundraising had improved 18 months ago, it was now Italy’s turn. He said: “You can definitely notice investor excitement about Italy. People have started to remember that Northern Italy is the most productive part of Europe.”
The deal environment is also less competitive than in Northern Europe, and the Italian market is underexploited, according to Maurizio Bottinelli, head of investment team at Clessidra. He said: “Italy is a big economy with a lot of opportunities… [especially when it comes to] export-focused businesses [in] food, fashion, design and manufacturing.”