Foresight Group eyes further investments after closing £65m regional fund

Foresight Group, the infrastructure and private equity manager, plans to plug the ‘equity gap’ in the region following its latest fundraise of £65m.

The group announced the first close of the Foresight Regional Investment III which is cornerstoned by the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, with strong support from Clwyd and Merseyside Pension Funds.

The £65m fundraise follows the success of the Foresight Regional Investment in the North West, which has helped create more than 600 new jobs in growing SMEs, with the first two exits returning 6.1x and 5.6x money, respectively.

In line with FRIF, the latest fund has a flexible mandate and can deliver buyout, minority equity release and growth capital transactions.

It will provide a platform from which Foresight can provide both capital investment and expertise to support the development of “sustainable, socially conscious small businesses in North West England, North Wales and beyond.”

Foresight currently manages five regionally focused investment funds across the UK and supports over 100 UK SMEs.

Foresight exited Hedges Direct Group in Lancashire in March

Russell Healey, Foresight’s Head of Private Equity, said: “Across the UK, our regional private equity business is helping to drive the growth of SMEs as the country looks to recover from the pandemic.

“In the North West, Foresight has established itself as a key player over the last five years, investing in more than 20 local companies and working closely with management in each case to support their growth plans.

“However, the region remains under-invested and COVID-19 has materially widened the equity gap, so increasing the opportunity for our latest fund to have a significant, positive impact on the local community while also delivering strong economic returns.”

In its trading update of 15 April 2021, Foresight reported an estimated year end AUM of £7.2bn for the financial year to 31 March 2021, an increase of 60% year-on-year (31 March 2020: £4.5 billion).

During the year, Foresight’s Private Equity team made 50 investments into UK businesses across a wide variety of sectors.

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