China Everbright, Catalyst raise $100 mln for Israel-focused fund

TEL AVIV Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:00am EST

TEL AVIV Feb 26 (Reuters) - China Everbright Ltd (CEL) and Israel's Catalyst Equity Management said on Wednesday they have raised $100 million for a private equity fund that will invest in Israeli companies.

The Catalyst CEL Fund will target mid-to-late stage companies with proven innovation, whose strategy includes expansion into emerging markets with a special focus on China, or firms with products that have significant commercial potential in these markets.

"Our goal is to reach $200 to $300 million. We just had our first closing of $100 million but we have strong interest from Chinese, Israeli and international investors to join the fund," Edouard Cukierman, managing partner of the Catalyst CEL Fund, told Reuters. "We are confident we will be able to reach our goal by the end of this year."

CEL committed $75 million of the first $100 million.

The fund is examining investments in mature companies in sectors such as Internet, mobile technology, medical devices, agro tech and water technology. The first investment is expected to be made in the coming weeks.

Each investment will range between $20-$25 million. Catalyst managing partner Alan Dobkin said the fund has the ability to do much larger deals as its limited partners can co-invest alongside it.

CEL managing partner Shengyan Fan said the fund was looking at companies with very strong management and operations and proven track records in North America or Europe but that have not been able to make inroads into China.

"We are willing to provide strategic support for such initiatives," she said.

Fan said Chinese companies are looking for investment opportunities outside China as they seek new markets, customers and resources.

"Israel is known for innovation. That's definitely something Chinese companies and investors are interested in," she said. (Reporting by Tova Cohen)

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