LONDON Feb 12 Blackstone has appointed
Inaki Echave as managing director for Spain and Portugal, as the
world's largest private equity firm seeks investment
opportunities in their ailing economies.
The euro zone's debt crisis has knocked company values in
the Iberia region and frozen local lending for private equity
But while the gloomy outlook is putting many dealmakers off,
others see the potential to pick up bargains with little
In October, Henry Kravis, co-founder of U.S. private equity
firm KKR, said he saw a "real opportunity" to invest in Spain's
real estate and financial services following the debt crisis.
Echave, most recently a partner with Magnum Capital - the
largest independent buyout fund on the Iberian Peninsula - will
work alongside Blackstone's chairman for the region, Claudio
Blackstone's only private equity investment in the region is
its 2010 purchase of Spanish packaging company Mivisa, bought
alongside local buyout firm N+1 for 900 million euros ($1.20
"Blackstone sees great opportunity in Spain," Joe Baratta,
global head of private equity, said in a statement on Tuesday.
"We have faith that Spain's leaders are taking actions to
put the economy on sounder footing, and we believe in the
long-term potential of that economy."
Buyout firms are also attracted to Spanish and Portuguese
companies that can give them a springboard into fast-growing
Bain Capital made its first foray into the Spanish market in
October with a deal worth 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) for
call centre operator Atento, which has a strong presence in
Blackstone has $51 billion in private equity assets under
management globally as of the end of 2012, with $16 billion to
invest. Last year it invested $5 billion in private equity.