(Reuters) – Swedish private equity firm EQT, which has close to 18 billion euros in raised capital, said it planned in future to manage its funds onshore in Europe, decreasing its use of tax havens, Reuters wrote Friday. EQT plans to consider Britain, the Netherlands, Luxembourg or even Sweden for its onshore locations.
(Reuters) – Swedish private equity firm EQT, which has close to 18 billion euros in raised capital, said it planned in future to manage its funds onshore in Europe, decreasing its use of tax havens.
EQT, a third owned by holding company Investor AB, said a number of steps had been taken within the European Union to introduce a harmonised framework for the regulation of private equity firms and that it was confident it was big and strong enough to roll out new funds onshore.
“It is very important to be able to say ‘we are not on the Channel Islands, we are not in some tax haven, but rather that we are in established European countries’,” Conni Jonsson, the firm’s chief executive, told a news conference.
Jonsson said he hoped the move would help simplify its structure and change the perception that it operated only in tax havens.
EQT plans to consider Britain, the Netherlands, Luxembourg or even Sweden for its onshore locations rather than places such as Guernsey.
“The more we can do at home, the easier of course it is, because it is a simpler structure,” Jonsson told Reuters.
He said the firm would see some increased costs but that investors would not be affected. He said it was unclear whether other Nordic private equity firms would follow suit.
EQT, which is focused on acquiring or financing medium-sized to large companies in northern and eastern Europe, Asia and the United States, launched a 4.75 billion euro fund last year.
Private equity activity in the Nordics has held up well thanks to economic growth rates which remain well ahead of many economies in the euro zone. The region’s well-capitalised banks have also been able to keep their lines of credit open.
“It’s a tough fundraising market generally but everyone is living through that because of the worries that are out there,” Jonsson said, speaking of the general outlook for 2012.
“Listings are going to be difficult to do, but strategic buyers are going to be very active,” he said.
EQT Opportunity Fund announced on Wednesday that it had sold its shares in Swedish outdoor clothing company Lundhags to Norwegian outdoor equipment and textile supplier Swix Sport AS.
Sources told Reuters last month that EQT also plans to sell Finnish toilet and bath maker Sanitec, in a deal that could fetch around 1 billion euros. (Reporting by Mia Shanley and Sven Nordenstam; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)