NY group raises $200m for SE Europe

Bedminster Capital Management has reached its original $200m target with the first closing of SEEF II, a new vehicle focused on investments in Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Serbia and Croatia and other south eastern Europe markets.

New York-based private equity firm Bedminster Capital Management has held a first close of its Southeast Europe Equity Fund II (SEEF II) vehicle with $200 million (€159 million) of commitments.
 
David Mathewson, managing director of Bedminster, told PEO that the vehicle had an original target of $200 million and will have a second closing “in the near future” but declined to provide a new target size or final close date for the vehicle.
 
SEEF II is the successor fund to the $200 million SEEF I, which was launched in 2000 as part of Soros Investment Capital, a division of the George Soros-led Soros Asset Management until October 2004. Bedminster Capital Management became independent of Soros Asset Management in 2004 when the parent company spun out its private equity, real estate and credit divisions. 
 
Fund II will invest in companies in Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Serbia, Croatia and other south eastern Europe markets.
 
Matthewson said that no placement agent was used for the fundraising.
 
Investors in SEEF II include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), BankAustria Creditanstalt and an unnamed affiliate of Soros Fund Management. According to a filing, EBRD said it would put up to $50 million into the new fund, while OPIC said in a release that it has committed a total of $90 million to SEEF II in two tranches following “stronger than expected fundraising and the stellar investment record of its predecessor”.
 
SEEF invested in nine companies across six countries and has, to date, realised over $210 million through six divestments and dividends and returned more than 175 percent of all equity committed, according to OPIC.
 
In addition, Bedminster announced that Thomas Kofler has been appointed as a managing director and a member of the general partner and investment committee of SEEF II. Prior to joining the firm, Kofler was a management board member of CA-IB, where he had responsibility for corporate transactions throughout Southeast Europe. Kofler will be based in Bedminster’s office in Vienna, Austria.
 
Established in 2004, Bedminster Capital Management has 10 investment professionals operating out of New York, Istanbul, Sofia, Bucharest, Belgrade and Vienna.