Foresight launches GBP100 million East of England Fund


Foresight Group (Foresight), an independent infrastructure and small cap private equity investment manager, has launched its fifth regional private equity fund, which will focus on companies in the thriving SME sector in the East of England.

Cornerstoned by the Cambridgeshire Pension Fund, the Fund will target long term value growth for investors and provide a permanent pool of capital to fund businesses in the region and beyond. The Fund breaks new ground as an evergreen pool of patient capital targeted at the small company private equity sector in the UK.

The Fund will typically invest up to GBP5 million into established companies with a view to assisting management with their growth ambitions. It will invest across a broad range of sectors, across the full range of transaction types including buy-outs and equity release, always with the objective of supporting management with their growth ambitions for the business.

The East of England is home to more than 20,000 small established companies. Whilst it receives significant venture capital funding for early stage businesses, the region is not well served by private equity to support established, smaller companies. The Fund will address this funding gap, bringing not only capital but Foresight’s insight and expertise to the companies in which it invests.

Foresight has been investing in small businesses across the UK for more than 35 years, delivering strong financial returns and guided by a well-established set of responsible investment principles. It is amongst the most active investors in the UK, having made more than 30 investments over the last 12 months and with a portfolio of more than 90 companies. Its growing private equity team of 24 investment professionals now manages over GBP700 million from offices throughout the UK.

Foresight will shortly open an office in Cambridge, at the heart of the business community.
 
Russell Healey, Partner and Head of Private Equity at Foresight, says: “The East of England has a large number of companies in an exciting range of sectors including life sciences, technology, media and engineering, but it has traditionally attracted relatively low levels of private equity investment. We are delighted to be working with the Cambridgeshire Pension Fund to provide a permanent, patient pool of capital, which targets strong returns, and around which the regional business community can make long-term plans. We look forward to backing entrepreneurs in the region and working with them to grow their businesses.”

Paul Tysoe, Investment Manager, Cambridgeshire Pension Fund, adds: “Foresight has an excellent track record of making private equity investments into small UK companies, and we are pleased to be working with them on the Foresight East of England Fund. The Fund will target an established gap in the funding market, where we believe there is not only the opportunity to deliver attractive returns, but also to support growing companies in the East of England and beyond.”

Sweta Chattopadhyay, Director Private Markets, bfinance, says: “bfinance is delighted to have assisted with the implementation of the Foresight East of England Fund. The strong commercial and social impetus behind this fund highlights the purpose-driven approach that Cambridgeshire and Foresight have taken to have a deep positive impact on the local business community in the area through the investments this fund will make. Additionally, we are excited to have been involved at the inception of this innovative evergreen private equity vehicle, focused on the lower-mid market segment.”

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