Private equity fundraising for investment into companies across Europe hit its highest level since 2008 last year at €74.5 billion, a 37% year-on-year increase, according to data released today by Invest Europe.
The 2016 European Private Equity Activity report reveals private equity investments totalled €53.7 billion last year, the second highest amount since 2008. Almost 6,000 companies across Europe benefited from investment, 83% of which were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Exit activity remained robust at €38.9 billion, divested at cost.
In the last four years, European private equity funds have raised over €240 billion to invest into companies in Europe — more than twice the amount raised in the four years following the financial crisis, 2009 to 2012. Pension funds accounted for over a third of capital raised in 2016.
Consumer goods and services in Europe received the largest amount of private equity investment last year, at 28% of the total — a 23% year-on-year increase for the sector. The technology sector (communications, computing and electronics) received a fifth of the annual investment, as did business-to-business products and services.
France and Benelux-based companies received more than a third of private equity investments in 2016. Investments in Southern Europe were 19% of the total, mainly driven by increased investments in Italy and Spain. UK & Ireland and DACH-based companies each had about 17% share of the total investment, followed by the Nordics at 9% and CEE at 3%.