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CRG launches special situations fund for central and eastern Europe

CRG, a US-based firm specialising in the restructuring of middle market companies and the management of distressed equity and debt portfolios, has launched the EUR200m CRG Central European

CRG, a US-based firm specialising in the restructuring of middle market companies and the management of distressed equity and debt portfolios, has launched the EUR200m CRG Central European Special Situations Fund, which will invest in underperforming and distressed companies in central and eastern Europe.

Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich has committed EUR20m as the cornerstone investor in the fund. The central institution of Austria’s Raiffeisen banking group, the country’s largest commercial and consumer bank, Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich also is a leading corporate and investment bank at home and in central and eastern Europe.

CRG and Raiffeisen already have a track record of partnership in the region following the appointment of the US company’s predecessor firm TRG last year as general partner and fund manager for Raiffeisen’s CEE Private Equity Fund.

Over the past five years, TRG has invested in underperforming and distressed portfolios and end-of-life funds in the region, achieving average returns with an internal rate of return of more than 30 per cent, and as well as building up a track record of restructuring and selling assets from dedicated central and east European Funds.

The CRG Central European Special Situations Fund will be managed out of Vienna by Parham Pouladdej, managing partner of group subsidiary CRG Capital Partners, and will draw on Raiffeisen’s network of contacts and business partners. CRG says it has already identified a number of attractive investment opportunities.

‘Lengthy experience in the region has shown us that it is one of the most fertile and exciting markets for distressed investment,’ says Stephen Gray, managing partner of CRG Partners. ‘Working in partnership with RZB’s unparalleled network in the region, we are excited about prospects for this new fund.’

RZB Private Equity director Martin Lang says: ‘CRG and RZB both look back on a long history as professional investors in this asset class and a successfully proven partnership. We therefore are confident that our new project will become a great success story, too.’

CRG Partners was created by a merger in June of Corporate Revitalisation Partners and TRG, which has been active in corporate recovery and investment in central and eastern Europe for 16 years. The firm offers services including interim management; operational and financial advisory services; bankruptcy support; merger, acquisition and due diligence support; real estate maximization and performance improvement.

Founded in 1927 and based in Vienna. Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich operates one of the largest banking networks in central and eastern Europe through its listed subsidiary Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding, whose subsidiaries covers 18 markets.

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