Banks

RBS share drop accelerates on stress test flop

Stressed. Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland have accelerated their losses this morning, falling over 4.5 per cent after the state-backed lender came in bottom of the heap in the Bank of England’s latest stress tests. RBS failed the toughest ever stress tests carried out by the BoE, with results this morning showing the lender’s […]

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Currencies

Renminbi strengthens further despite gains by dollar

The renminbi on track for a fourth day of firming against the dollar on Wednesday after China’s central bank once again pushed the currency’s trading band (marginally) stronger. The onshore exchange rate (CNY) for the reniminbi was 0.28 per cent stronger at Rmb6.8855 in afternoon trade, bringing it 0.53 per cent firmer since it last […]

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Financial

Sales in Rocket Internet’s portfolio companies rise 30%

Revenues at Rocket Internet rose strongly at its portfolio companies in the first nine months of the year as the German tech group said it was making strides on the “path towards profitability”. Sales at its main companies increased 30.6 per cent to €1.58bn while losses narrowed. Rocket said the adjusted margin for earnings before […]

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Property

Spanish construction rebuilds after market collapse

Property developer Olivier Crambade founded Therus Invest in Madrid in 2004 to build offices and retail space. For five years business went quite well, and Therus developed and sold more than €300m of properties. Then Spain’s economy imploded, taking property with it, and Mr Crambade spent six years tending to Dhamma Energy, a solar energy […]

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Currencies

Nomura rounds up markets’ biggest misses in 2016

Forecasting markets a year in advance is never easy, but with “year-ahead investment themes” season well underway, Nomura has provided a handy reminder of quite how difficult it is, with an overview of markets’ biggest hits and misses (OK, mostly misses) from the start of 2016. The biggest miss among analysts, according to Nomura’s Sam […]

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Categorized | Financial

European private equity firm launches


Posted on October 3, 2016

Customers queue outside a National Bank of Greece SA bank branch ahead of opening in Athens, Greece, on Monday, July 20, 2015. German Chancellor Angela Merkel held out the prospect of limited debt relief as crisis-ravaged Greece prepares to reopen its banks three weeks after they were shut. Photographer: Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg©Bloomberg

A European private equity group backed by the buyout arms of Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank has launched after months of delay, underlining the slow post-crisis clean-up of Greek banks.

Stage Capital, the former private equity arm of the National Bank of Greece, opened its doors as an independent group on Monday, after its management and funds managed by Goldman and Deutsche paid €288m to acquire it from the Greek bank.

    The creation of the firm, which will manage €300m in assets across 11 different long-term vehicles, is one of the most complex transactions in a growing second-hand market for stakes in private equity funds.

    NBG, which has had to sell assets to raise capital after receiving multiple bailouts in Greece’s debt crisis, was first approached by the two banks about selling the unit a year and a half ago and terms were signed early this year.

    But the deal has required months of work on buying out each underlying fund and obtaining approvals, including from regulators and competition authorities. Funds typically lock up investors’ capital for several years when they are first raised, making transfers of control difficult.

    “It has taken a long time,” Graham Thomas, Stage Capital’s managing partner and chief executive, said. “The deal was signed at the end of January. It’s a relief to be finally there.”

    Investors in private equity have turned increasingly to such secondary deals to boost their returns and diversify their portfolios, as fundraising for buyouts has become more competitive and pricey.

    Secondary buyers may also feel more comfortable about predicting the future performance of a fund which is halfway through investing in companies than a newly-raised vehicle.

    As more capital has flowed into this secondary market, some investors have turned to arranging more specialised deals, such as creating new firms.

    “In the secondary business, the more experienced players are focusing more and more on these complex transactions,” Mr Thomas said. “We hope we have reached a fair price.”

    Mr Thomas said Stage Capital had “quite a seasoned portfolio”, including holdings in a Scotland-based oil services firm, Czech warehouses, and venture capital investments in medical technology.

    The firm plans to focus for the next couple of years on developing its current investments with the capital provided by the Goldman-Deutsche transaction and then selling them, Mr Thomas said.

    He added that Stage Capital could target other secondary investments in future. “We’ve now driven a pretty complicated secondary transaction,” he said.