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Wisconsin divests Graphite fund stake

Graphite Fund VI invested in 15 companies including holiday home and caravan park operator Park Holidays UK, which it sold last year.

The State of Wisconsin Investment Board has sold its stake in Graphite Capital Partners VI, according to a UK regulatory notice.

Fund VI closed on £375 million in April 2003, according to PEI’s Research and Analytics division. Limited partners in the fund include the West Midlands Pension Fund and CenturyLink as well as fund of funds managers Nordea and Idinvest.

Fund VI is fully invested in more than 15 companies, eight of which are unrealised, including wholesale tyre company Micheldever Tyre Services and outsourced staffing company Aktrion which remain in Graphite’s portfolio, according to its website.

Graphite has exited some Fund VI investments including international recruiting firm NES Global Talent, holiday home and caravan park operator Park Holidays UK and oilfield services company Dominion Gas. The firm generated a 4.7x return on NES in 2012 and 2.3x returns on each Park Holidays and Dominion Gas last year.

Graphite declined to comment.

Wisconsin sold its stake in Fund VI to Graphite Enterprise Trust, the fund of funds and direct investment arm of Graphite Capital. Between 75 percent and 80 percent of the Enterprise Trust’s investments are made in third party funds and co-investments, with the remaining investments reserved for companies controlled directly by Graphite Capital, according to the website.

The sale marks Wisconsin’s fourth reported secondaries sale in three months. In July, Wisconsin sold its stakes in BC European Capital VII, Fund VII Top-up and 3i Eurofund III to The Blackstone Group’s Strategic Partners as well as its stake in Charterhouse Capital Partners’ CCP Fund IX to Adams Street Partners.  The sales are part of the $100 billion investment board’s plans to sell stakes in 34 private equity funds from a legacy portfolio. At the end of 2013, the portfolio was valued at about $203 million, including 14 additional funds managed by Brinson Partners that are excluded from the sale.

A spokesperson from Wisconsin did not return a request for comment by press time.