Pan-European buyout house Candover is suspending investing from the fund it raised in 2008 for the next six months in order to “explore options for it’s future”. At this point, it’s options seem most likely to be either a competitor buying out the firm, or to simply wind-down Candover altogether with a skeleton staff selling off the portfolio companies. If it were to end, it would be a fizzle of an finale to a firm that was founded back in 1980 and listed on the exchange in 1984.
To say Candover has had a tough go of things since the start of the financial crisis would be a horrendous simplification of the situation. Cracks began to show after the company failed to make good on its €1 billion commitment to the €3 billion 2008 fund. It’s already written down the value of its portfolio by more than one-third (from £483.6 million in December 2007 to £310 million), and six of the firm’s 22 investments have been written down to zero.
Speaking of the 2008 fund, the only investment it’s made so far is the £1.6 billion acquisition of oil services company Expro International in April 2008 (have to point out that this deal was made jointly with Candover’s 2005 fund). From here on out, LPs will pay management fees based only on the Expro investment rather than the full value of the fund’s commitments.
On a positive note (sort of), Candover’s share price rose 17% on announcement of the six-month hiatus.