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