Fondo Italiano seeks buyers for €300m direct portfolio

The European directs and fund of funds specialist wants to offload minority stakes in at least 20 companies spanning sectors including industrial and manufacturing, Secondaries Investor has learned.

Fondo Italiano d’Investimento, a European direct investor and fund of funds specialist, is attempting to offload a portfolio of stakes in direct assets spanning sectors including industrial and manufacturing, Secondaries Investor has learned.

The Milan-based firm, which supports Italian small to medium enterprises, wants to sell minority interests in at least 20 companies and has hired Credit Suisse to advise on the process, according to four sources familiar with the matter. Many of the assets were acquired between 2010 and 2012, one of the sources said.

Fondo Italiano manages one private equity fund, one venture capital fund and three funds of funds, according to its website. Its main vehicle is its 2010-vintage €1.2 billion eponymous private equity fund which holds stakes in 36 companies across industrial, manufacturing, healthcare, engineering, food production and automotive sectors, according to its website.

It is unclear in which vehicle or vehicles the assets for sale are held.

The assets for sale have a total net asset value of between €250 million to €300 million and the deal to sell them has passed the first bid stage, according to two of the sources.

The firm’s private equity fund had a NAV of €284.1 million as of 30 June, according to its first half 2016 investment report.

Many of the assets are majority owned by Italy-based families and potential bidders are concerned about future exit strategies, according to two of the sources.

“There are some very good companies in there but how you eventually get out of these positions is the question,” one of the sources said.

Italian business publication Milano Finanza first wrote that Fondo Italiano was exploring options to sell the portfolio.

The fund was created to help smaller Italian companies become more competitive at the national and international level, and involves Italian government and banking representatives. Banks including Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Intesa-Sanpaolo and UniCredit Group underwrote an initial commitment of €1 billion, with a further €200 million committed by credit banks including Banca Popolare di Milano and UBI Banca, according to the firm’s website.

Its private equity fund invests in companies with a turnover of between €10 million to €250 million.

Fondo Italiano did not return a request for comment. Credit Suisse declined to comment.