March 5, 2015 / 8:15 PM / in 4 years

Hedge fund Eton Park gains in February as currency bets help

BOSTON, March 5 (Reuters) - Eric Mindich’s $9 billion hedge fund Eton Park retured 3.7 percent in February, having made money by betting against the Japanese yen and euro and by putting on new positions in Asian dairy companies, an investor in his fund said.

Mindich said on a conference call with investors that the fund is now up 4.8 percent for the year, beating the average global hedge fund which is up 1.8 percent, data from Hedge Fund Research show. Over the last three years, Mindich has returned an average 13 percent per year.

A bet on Japanese dairy and chocolate producer Meiji Holdings Co. Ltd, which has climbed 21 percent this year, has helped the hedge fund, Mindich said, according to a person who listened to the call. The fund manager expects mergers to pick up around the world and is looking for fresh activity in Japan.

He also repeated the message from his end of year letter, noting that there could be fresh opportunities in the beaten down energy sector in the months ahead.

Mindich, who counts big name pension funds like the state of New Mexico among his clients, also invested in Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co., which lost some ground in February.

A bet on online travel company Priceline Group in November, and expanded upon in January, also helped the fund as the stock price gained early last month. Mindich then exited the position before February ended.

Because hedge funds are private and rarely discuss their returns and stock picks publicly, investors pay a great deal of attention to snippets about what the biggest players in the $3 trillion industry are doing.

Mindich, a former Goldman Sachs partner, has been a huge success after drumming up so much demand when he set up his fund in 2004 that he raised $3.5 billion at the start. (Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Alan Crosby)

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