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(Corrects assets managed to $46 bln from $36 bln, removes extraneous word from first paragraph)
FRANKFURT, April 3 (Reuters) - French private equity firm Ardian, recently spun off from insurer AXA, has raised 500 million euros ($688 million) for small-cap investments.
The buyout group closed its Expansion Fund III after raising 450 million from investors and has another 50 million euros at its disposal for co-investments, Ardian said in a statement on Thursday.
Ardian's newly launched fund is targeting companies with an enterprise value of up to 150 million euros and has already invested in German frozen food group Frostkrone, French environmental data company CLS Group, French pharma group Synerlab and French smart-cart testing business Micropass.
Ardian, which manages $46 billion, is riding a pick-up in foreign investors' interest in European assets and is eyeing mid-sized targets in France, Germany and Italy that have international exposure and growth potential. ($1 = 0.7263 Euros) (Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Edward Taylor and David Goodman)