Altamar hires ex-Mercapital executive

Miguel Zurita’s appointment as a co-chief investment officer comes as Altamar plans to raise an emerging market and a secondary fund this year.

Altamar Private Equity, a Spanish fund of fund manager, has hired Miguel Zurita as a managing partner.

Zurita’s will join Jose Luis Molina and Inés Andrade as managing partners at the firm. Together with Jose Luis Molina, who is also one of the three founding partners, Zurita will be a chief investment officer. This position was originally held by Mariano Olaso, another founding partner, but he is gradually withdrawing from Altamar through March 2014, when he will step down. The other founding partner, Claudio Aguirre, will remain chairman of Altamar, Andrade told Private Equity International.

Zurita spent 22 years at Mercapital, Andrade said. “It’s not easy to find someone like that and he happened to be available because of the merger between [Spanish firms] Mercapital and N+1,” she said. While at Mercapital, Zurita lived in Mexico for many years. “He also has good connections with the remaining part of Latin America,” she said.

The firm will be raising two funds this year — one focused on secondaries and one on emerging markets. Both funds will target between €100 million and €150 million, according to Andrade. “It’s a good moment for both these strategies. We are raising niche funds like these to complement our flagship global funds that we raise every two to three years,” she said.

While Altamar wants to further expand its investor base in Latin America, its major source of investors remains Spain, Andrade said. The firm has however never invested in Spain. “Our value add is that we bring Spanish investors to an investment fund that they do not know or they don’t have access to. We help to diversify them internationally,” she added.

While Altamar has a high market share in Spain “and would never give that up”, as Andrade put it – the firm is aware the [Spanish market] is flat and it needs to find other sources of growth, which would be the Latin American institutional world and family offices, she added.

Altamar V, a €165 million fund, closed in December last year. The fund is two-thirds committed, Andrade said. Although the fundraising climate is tough, she remained optimistic. “It is very challenging, but in spite of that we have been able to raise money last year and we hope to be able to raise money this year,” she said.