Qualium spins out from France’s CDC

The new firm will try to raise up to €400m for its debut independent fund, said the firm’s President Jean Eichenlaub.

Caisse des Dépôts, a state-owned investor in French regional economic development, has spun out its buyout arm, Qualium Investissement, to Qualium’s current management.

This new independent entity will launch a fund, Qualium Fund II, with Caisse des Dépôts as a cornerstone investor. The new fund will invest in French SMEs and have a target size of between €350 million to €400 million, Qualium’s president Jean Eichenlaub told Private Equity International.

It will target sectors in which France is a leader, such as luxury goods, food, construction and aerospace.

The management team has managed third-party capital before: its 2012-vintage Qualium Fund, raised €520 million from a pool of 30 investors. The new fund will initially target re-ups from that investor base.

Qualium Investissement specialises mainly in control buyouts, investing between €20 million and €75 million in French SMEs valued at between €40 million and €250 million. It has €750 million in assets under management and employs 22 people.

The management team now has acquired 70 percent of the firm with Caisse des Dépôts maintaining a 30 percent share. The management team acquired the stake with their own capital.

“Caisse des Dépôts wanted to streamline the investment activities of the group,” Eichenlaub said. “We were the only part of the group that was doing majority buyouts. They wanted to continue in this market but not be the main shareholder or the GP of the management company. They also wanted us to be more involved financially in the business.”