Scottish Equity closes leading fund at £160m

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SCOTTISH Equity Partners, the venture capitalist group, has raised £160 million to invest in emerging companies - the biggest fund that's been unveiled in Europe in the past 12 months.

The Glasgow-based company has now closed the oversubscribed SEP III, which has attracted strong support from a string of blue-chip investors, including Swiss Re, Skandia, Gartmore and Scottish Widows Investment Partnership.

It is understood that the cash raised by the fund, which ended up about 40m above target, will be ploughed into about 30 emerging technology, healthcare and energy-related companies across Europe.

SEP managing director Calum Paterson, who claimed the fund attracted a much broader investor base than previously achieved, believes the successful fundraising reflected positively on the entire investment team.

"Our objective was not to raise as much money as possible, but to cap the fund at a sensible level relative to the market we operate in," he said.

This latest bout of fundraising, against a backdrop of tough market conditions and strong competition among venture capital funds, is the second time in five years that SEP has raised more than 100m.

"The UK is the most vibrant venture capital market in Europe and our fundraising is a vote of confidence in the market as well as in SEP," Paterson said.

"We have already identified a number of decent investment opportunities for the new fund and have a strong investment pipeline across all three of our core areas of focus."

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