REFILE-Nordic Capital raises 1.7 bln euros for fund - source

Fri Feb 22, 2013 8:13am EST

(In first paragraph, corrects to 'close', from 'call')

* Has raised more than half of 3 bln euro target - source

* Hopes fund will reach final close by summer - source

By Kylie MacLellan

LONDON, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Nordic Capital has raised 1.7 billion euros ($2.25 billion)($2.25 billion) in the first close of its latest fund, according to a person at the private equity firm's annual investor meeting this week.

'First close' means a private equity firm has asked clients to release money they promised so that it can start investing, while still looking to increase the size of the fund.

Nordic Capital, which specialises in investing in companies in the Nordic region and German-speaking countries, began marketing its eighth fund last April and expects to hit its 3 billion euro target by the summer, the person said on Friday.

Fundraising within the private equity industry, where firms raise money to buy businesses and sell them at a profit later, remains challenging as the economic slowdown and pressure on returns has seen investors become more selective.

Many large private equity firms, including Apollo Global Management LLC, CVC Capital Partners, and Permira Advisers LP, have been raising new funds, with varying success.

In November, Advent International Corp amassed 8.5 billion euros, exceeding its 7 billion euro target, while Apax Partners said in December it may not reach its initial 9 billion euro target.

Nordic Capital's own target was cut late last year to 3 billion euros from an initial 4 billion.

Private equity funds in Europe raised nearly $52 billion in 2012, according to Thomson Reuters data, compared with an annual average above $100 billion during the 2006-08 boom.

Germany and Scandinavia were seen as the leading areas for growth of private equity-driven merger and acquisition activity in 2013, in a survey of more than 1,200 industry insiders published by consultants Roland Berger on Friday.

Nordic Capital, whose investments include healthcare provider Capio and confectionery maker Cloetta, was expected to be among buyers interested in ferry group Scandlines, soon to be offloaded by fellow private equity groups 3i and Allianz Capital Partners.

Nordic Capital would not comment. ($1 = 0.7563 euro) (Additional reporting by Sven Nordenstam in Stockholm and Anjuli Davies in London)