East Capital Explorer raises $530 million in IPO

The share offer was increased by 40% as the firm identifies greater investment opportunities further east.
Asset manager East Capital has raised $530 million in a euro-denominated Stockholm listing of East Capital Explorer. Following institutional and retail demand, the offer size was increased by 40% from Ç260 million.

It is envisaged that the funds raised will be split and allocated to its four existing public/private equity and illiquids-focused Bering funds in Russia, the Ukraine, Balkans and Central Asia, and additionally to a Russian utilities fund.

A portion of the money is expected to be placed with a new financial institutions fund, covering Russia, the CIS, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. An allocation will also go to a planned fund covering the retail and consumer market.

ôThe reason why we are increasingly looking out further east is because of the convergences that the east European countries that are west-facing have with the established central and western European markets,ö says Michael Hanson-Lawson, managing director of East CapitalÆs recently opened office in Hong Kong. ôConsequently, we find less gems for investment in those countries than the opportunities located further east.ö

The Russian market has not been strong in 2007, but has bounced back since it has become clearer over the summer that after his Presidential term expires, Vladimir Putin will continue to be a dominant force in the political scene, perhaps as prime minister, with his hand-picked choice running for the Presidency.

The Kazakhstan market has also come off the boil in 2007, a key reason for which is uncertainties in the financial institutions sector. The hefty sums raised in Eurobond liabilities by Kazak banks has raised fears that they may be over-extending themselves.

Carnegie Investment Bank AB, Citigroup Global Markets Limited and Morgan Stanley acted as joint global co-ordinators and joint bookrunners for the offering.

East Capital has $7.25 billion in assets under management as of August 31, 2007 and has offices in Stockholm, Tallinn, Moscow, Paris, Oslo, Hong Kong and Milan.
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