Palamon raises fund as confidence in Europe picks up – Reuters

Reuters – Private equity firm Palamon Capital Partners said on Monday its latest equity fund had attracted 210 million euros ($284 million) worth of investments in a sign of growing confidence in Europe’s economic recovery.

The London-based company’s “Palamon Auxiliary Partnership 2013” plans to invest the money within two years, the firm said in a statement.

Seeking opportunities in some of the worst-hit countries of the euro zone crisis, Palamon’s latest venture was backed by the majority of investors from its predecessor fund “Palamon European Equity II,” Managing Partner Louis Elson told Reuters.

Elson said plans to launch a new venture as its previous fund neared its conclusion in December 2012 ground to a halt as the firm’s U.S.-based investors, concerned about a break-up of the euro as well as the region’s weak growth prospects, were cautious to back funds spanning the region.

But investors have since come round to the case for a pan-European proposition, enabling Palamon to attract new money, he said.

August data showed the euro zone emerged from its longest recession to date in the second quarter, as growth lifted in Germany and France, the region’s two largest economies.

The new fund will pursue majority shareholder positions of 15 million euros to 80 million euros in mid-market growth services businesses across Europe, including in crisis-stricken Spain and Italy.

“Spain has interesting dynamics, it’s been through a gut wrenching shift, and is beginning to open up with deregulation across a number of industries – there’s more dynamism,” Elson said.

Changes to Italy’s institutions are also opening up an attractive entrepreneurial culture, he said.

A loosening of Germany’s data mining laws and a recent shake-up in the UK’s financial services industry, creating new market entrants, has similarly changed the landscape for firms based in those countries, he added.

($1 = 0.7385 euros) (Editing by Mark Potter)