17 Feb 2015
Uncertain and volatile times in Europe signal an opportunity to realise returns for investors otherwise made challenging in an era of low yields. We are entering a new stage for investors, where information will be the key to returns.
In my 30 years in private equity, first as an investor, then a manager and most recently as a consultant, I have seen all kinds of market conditions and know the role private equity can play in the good times and in slow economic growth periods like we´re facing now.
It would be foolish to suggest that Europe is still on the recovery path. After a promising start to 2014 and a welcome return of economic growth, it is clear that a year later many economies across the continent have slipped backwards. But I also know there are always opportunities to be found. I have seen the most astute private equity managers hunt out new investments in difficult times as these and the experience to secure successful exits when the market turns.
Indeed, despite the economic and political uncertainty gripping the continent, this can be a good time for European private equity to sell investments and return money to investors. Low oil prices are pushing down costs for manufacturers, while the weakening euro is benefitting exporters who sell their products and services overseas. Those tailwinds will make European companies more profitable and more appealing to overseas buyers. The weak euro will also make investments into those companies look relatively cheap to international groups – corporations awash with cash, and private equity firms with dollar-denominated funds to deploy.
It truly is a time ripe of opportunity for the private equity industry to deliver to its investors. One that requires even more dialogue between investors and private equity managers. I will be chairing the Invest Europe Investors’ Forum in Geneva next month and I look forward to engaging in insightful dialogue with the investor and fund manager audience on the outlook for Europe and its companies. Information is power and I hope to come away with a better understanding of where these industry practitioners see the risks in these volatile markets. I also want to be able to see opportunities more clearly – which countries are attractive, and which sectors are hot.
The private equity industry has come a long way in my three decades in the industry. When I started investing, €10m was a large buyout. Now, they are measured in the billions – and €10m might only cover the costs of environmental due diligence!
The crucial role that private equity and venture capital plays in adding value to economies has only intensified. In these low-interest rate times, investors are relying on private equity and venture capital to deliver great returns. Moreover, European companies need strong and supportive backers to maximise their potential and help drive economic growth. I look forward to meeting you in Geneva on 18-19 March to discuss these topics and many more.
Jonny Maxwell, Senior Advisor, GMT Communications Partners LLP
Most PCs automatically accept them but you can change your browser settings to restrict, block or delete cookies if you want. Each browser is different, so check the 'Help' menu of your particular browser (or your mobile phone's handset manual) to learn how to change your cookie preferences. Many browsers have universal privacy settings for you to choose from.
Cookie settings in most versions of Internet Explorer can be found by clicking the tools option and then the privacy tab.
Cookie settings in Firefox are managed in the Options window's Privacy panel. See Options window - Privacy Panel for information on these settings.
Click on the spanner icon on the toolbar, select settings, click the under the bonnet tab, click on content settings in the privacy section.
You can manage cookies in Opera if you Click on settings, then Preferences, then Advanced and finally Cookies
Choose Safari, then preferences and then click security. You should then be able to specify if and when Safari should accept cookies.
To manage cookies on your mobile phone please consult your manual or handbook.
If you decline cookies, some aspects of Invest Europe site may not work on your computer or mobile phone and you may not be able to access areas you want on the website. For this reason we recommend that you accept cookies.
If you delete all your cookies you will have to update your preferences with us again and some aspects of our site may not work.
If you use a different device, computer profile or browser you will have to tell us your preferences again.
If you'd like to learn more about cookies in general and how to manage them, visit aboutcookies.org.
We can't be responsible for the content of external websites.Opt-out of cookies