Private equity group Carlyle hires energy investment team

LONDON Thu May 2, 2013 5:42am EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - The Carlyle Group has hired a six person energy investment team, the private equity firm said on Thursday, as it looks to take advantage of predicted growth in global demand.

Carlyle is beefing up its energy team after an 11-year collaboration with Riverstone Holdings, which saw the private equity firms launch six funds together focused on buyouts in the energy and power sectors, came to an end in 2011.

The London-based team will be run by Marcel van Poecke, who was chief executive of now insolvent Swiss-based oil refiner Petroplus during Carlyle's ownership from 2005 to 2007, and will join this month.

It plans to raise a fund of around $1.5 billion, a source familiar with the matter said, and has already had some commitments from investors.

"Industry experts forecast global energy demand to grow dramatically over the next decade," Carlyle said in a statement.

"Energy production and infrastructure is expected to grow dramatically in Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia to meet this demand. This environment will increase the need for capital investment globally."

The team will focus on oil and gas exploration and production, midstream, oilfield services and refining and marketing in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Carlyle already has $28 billion of energy investments, made through its general buyout funds, its infrastructure fund and its middle-market funds, but this is its first dedicated energy fund and investment team outside North America.

Most diversified private equity firms now boast dedicated energy funds. Last year KKR said it had raised a $1.25 billion natural resources fund, while Blackstone Group LP raised just over $2.5 billion for an energy-focused private equity fund.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by James Jukwey)

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