Jerry Grimstone, chairman of Candover Investments, the private equity firm's listed vehicle, said the group is “well positioned to make new investments” when issuing a strong set of final figures for the investment trust.
Candover, which has recently succeeded in taking Dutch conglomerate Stork private, reported a 37.4% rise in net asset value over 2007 to 2065p a share. This came as the group “enjoyed record returns from realisations.”
Sales included Vetco, Thule, Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corporation, Bureau van Dijk and Get. Candover also listed Wellstream on the London Stock Exchange.
However, Grimstone said he does “not expect the rate of realisations achieved in 2007 to continue into 2008”.
He warned: “The tight credit market conditions show no sign of slackening, and this will inevitably have an impact on both the pricing of transactions and the overall level of activity in the buyout market.”
Candover will not rush to sell investments in this environment.
“Lower debt multiples may result in lower prices and this may cause vendors, including Candover, to delay selling businesses until a recovery is seen in the market,” said Grimstone.
Candover has just launched a EUR 5bn fund, its tenth in all, and is also establishing an Asian operation. “History has shown that a downturn in the markets can prove to be a good time for investing,” said Grimstone.
Lazard vice chairman Nicholas Jones is joining the trust's board from April 14.