Kurt Geiger backer Graphite Capital closes new investment fund for UK companies

London-based private equity firm Graphite Capital has built on some strong exit activity by raising a new investment fund worth £500 million.

The investor behind businesses such as Wagamama, Kurt Geiger and The Groucho Club has closed its eighth fund with help from new and existing backers.

The Graphite Capital Partners VIII fund has secured commitments of £475 million, with further contributions likely to push it over the £500 million mark in the coming weeks.

According to the firm, existing investors are providing 85 per cent of the fund on the back of exit activity which has seen the private equity house achieve returns of 2.3x for Dominion Gas.

Rod Richards, partner at Graphite Capital, says that the firm has an investment approach which generates high returns in a weak economic environment.

‘As the UK market remains highly competitive and the number of quality opportunities is relatively limited, it is particularly important to be able to address the widest possible range of sectors and deal sizes,’ he adds.

‘We are limiting the size of the fund to reflect activity levels in the market and have adopted a structure which gives us a high degree of flexibility on deal size.’

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In the past year, Graphite Capital has sold its interest in businesses including NES Global Talent, Optimum Care, Willowbrook Healthcare and Dominion Gas.

New commitments have come in the form of London restaurant chain Hawksmoor and Explore Learning.

The new fund has over 20 investors, while 40 per cent of commitments are from the UK, Graphite Capital says.

Stephen Cavell, Graphite’s head of investor relations, adds, ‘This is not an easy fundraising environment and we are pleased to have been able to raise the fund quickly and without a placement agent.’ 

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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