×

Carlyle Closes $7.3 Billion European Buyout Fund

Private equity firm Carlyle Group has closed a 5.35 billion euro ($7.31 billion) fund for European buyouts, a sign that investors remain hot on the industry despite the current chill.

Carlyle Europe Partners III will invest in a range of sectors, including automotive, chemicals, consumer, energy and media, the firm said on Thursday.

The fund is three times larger than its last European fund, which closed two years ago, and more than five times the size of its first European fund from 1998.

"The European market is maturing and the investment environment has become more challenging," Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein said. "However, there remain significant investment opportunities across the continent, and we will continue to apply our conservative philosophy and disciplined investment process in executing deals."

Carlyle has $75.6 billion under management. It has already invested 3.7 billion euros of equity in 36 European buyouts in Europe, including British defense technology firm QinetiQ and Dutch cable operator Casema.

Private equity firms raised a record $260 billion of funds during the first half of the year. Blackstone Group also raised the world's biggest ever fund of $21.7 billion in July.

Leveraged buyouts are expected to hit a dry spell through the end of the year because of a backlog of debt from deals in the first half that banks have been unable to sell.

The situation is expected by bankers to make it very difficult for private equity firms to borrow any significant amounts until early next year.