12 / 05 / 2015 LAATST BEWERKT 12 / 05 / 15 15:54

European private equity investment over €40bn in 2014, exits hit record levels, new EVCA data shows

European private equity investment over €40bn in 2014, exits hit record levels, new EVCA data shows

  • European private equity investment rises 14% to €41.5bn in 2014
  • Over 5,500 European companies get private equity investment, 80% SMEs
  • Divestments rise 10% to record €37.8bn, 2,400 companies exited
  • Funds raise €44.6bn in 2014, the second-highest total in five years

Report highlights

Investment increased by 14% to €41.5 billion
Private equity investment in European companies increased by 14% to €41.5 billion in 2014, as the number of companies receiving buyout, growth and venture capital investments reached its highest level in the past five years.

More than 5,500 companies across Europe benefited from private equity and venture capital investment in 2014, an 8% increase on the previous year. Of these businesses, over 80% were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), almost half of them attracted private equity funding for the first time. Venture capital investments made up the bulk of the companies backed, with over 3,200 companies receiving funding as investments increased by 6% to €3.6 billion.

In 2014, there was a clear pickup of investment and divestment activity across Europe, supported by robust fundraising. Against the backdrop of extremely high liquidity in financial markets, these numbers are proof of a strong and stable private equity industry which displays no signs of overheating.

Record private equity exits in 2014
Private equity divestments reached a record €37.8 billion in 2014, as firms exited more than 2,400 companies. The figure divested at cost is the highest level to date for the private equity industry in Europe and represents a 10% increase on 2013.

Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) played an increasingly important role in divestment activity. Exits via public markets more than doubled from 23 to 51 companies, while the amount divested at cost increased by more than 50% to €3.3 billion. The most prominent exit routes by amount were trade sale (26%), and sale to another private equity firm (24%).

The record divestment activity in 2014 reflects the quality of businesses being created by European private equity. While the rise in IPO activity is welcome and demonstrates investor appetite for new share offerings, more must be done to improve public market access for SMEs and the EVCA is working with fellow European associations via the IPO Task Force to promote a healthier IPO market.

Strong momentum in private equity fundraising
European private equity fundraising enjoyed another strong year in 2014. Fundraising reached 44.6 billion, its second highest level in the past five years. The performance is only surpassed by 2013’s post-crisis peak of €54.4 billion, which was heavily influenced by a small number of large funds raised.

The number of new funds raised is the highest since 2011 at 298, with increases in all private equity segments, including buyouts, growth, mezzanine and venture capital.

European private equity continued to attract significant capital from around the globe as institutional investors from outside Europe accounted for 40% of funds raised. Pension funds provided over one-third of the capital raised. Meanwhile, funds of funds contributed 12% of the total, followed by government agencies (11%) and insurance companies (10%).

About the statistics
The European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, EVCA, sources the data from more than 1,200 European private equity firms and it covers 91% of the €548 billion in capital under management in Europe, making the report the most comprehensive and authoritative source of private equity fundraising, investment and divestment data for Europe.

The resulting data helps to inform regulators on crucial matters such as AIFMD or Solvency II. Bodies such as the European Commission, ESMA, OECD, EUROSTAT, The World Economic Forum, national governments, leading think tanks, academia and the wider public are using EVCA data to be informed about industry activity and its economic impact.

The statistics are presented in slide format and the data is available in spread sheets, which can be downloaded from the EVCA website

-      Summary presentation

-      Data tables

-      Press release