PAI Raises $8.3 Billion Fund

LONDON (Reuters) – European buyout firm PAI closed its PAI Europe V fund at 5.4 billion euros ($8.3 billion), which it said made it the largest private equity fund ever raised in continental Europe.

The fund will target European businesses with an enterprise value between 500 million euros and several billion in the sectors covered by PAI — services, capital goods and consumer goods, the firm said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We are extremely pleased with the strong support we have received from our existing investors and the significant number of new investors who placed their confidence in PAI,” the firm's chairman and CEO Dominique Megret said.

While private equity firms have had their source of debt financing cut off by the global liquidity crisis, they have had little trouble raising funds from investors lured by the prospect of rich returns.

Last month Warburg Pincus WP.UL closed a $15 billion fund, while Blackstone Group (BX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) raised $10.9 billion to invest in real estate and KKR KKR.UL put together a $17.6 billion fund for acquisitions in the United States.

PAI said 63 percent of the funds raised came from Europe, 26 percent from North America and 11 percent from Asia and the Middle East.

Acquisitions by PAI in recent years include Kwik-Fit, United Biscuits, Monier and Yoplait.

(Reporting by Eleanor Wason; Editing by David Holmes)