From being a small Swedish private equity firm to the global company it is today, with a track record of great portfolio company development in various industries in many countries around the world – quite a different company compared to the one we started in 1994.
During my first two months as Managing Partner of EQT, I have been traveling the globe meeting colleagues in all our offices to better understand both the opportunities and challenges we as an investment advisory organization face in the markets where EQT operates. It has been an exciting and rewarding experience and I feel privileged to work with so many talented and dedicated people. I am confident that EQT is well equipped to take on the future!
The last 18 months have been successful for EQT with three fundraisings, all closing above target, a number of interesting new investments and four IPOs completed. In addition, several add-on acquisitions in the portfolio companies have been made as well as a handful of re-financings, capturing the opportunities created by the current vibrant credit markets. We see the same positive development for 2014, but remain highly selective on new investments as pricing is high. In this market environment, EQT remains disciplined on price and is focusing more on grasping the opportunities on the exit side, with a number of potential exits in the pipeline.
In April this year, EQT also filed its first RI Transparency Report according to the new PRI Reporting Framework. Even though ESG considerations have always been a core part of EQT’s investment process, it feels great to further articulate our commitment to responsible investment in a transparent manner.
In 2014, EQT celebrates its first 20 years in business. We have developed from being a local Swedish private equity firm to a global organization. Being active on three continents, within four investment strategies, enables EQT to combine global reach with local insights, thereby becoming a smarter investor, while at the same time providing greater value add to the companies EQT invest in.
I believe, now more than ever, that an entrepreneurial approach, applied with commitment to the long-term success of each company in the portfolios, creates real, sustainable value for all stakeholders. EQT has the best platform to achieve this thanks to the trust and support of the investors, the commitment of the Industrial Advisors and the hard work of the employees of the EQT portfolio companies and our staff.
Looking ahead, the opportunities for private equity are considerable. There are many good companies that need new owners with the ideas, networks and energy to move them to the next stage. Many governments also need both the capital and management capabilities to maintain and develop their public infrastructure for the benefit of their citizens. To be successful in the long-term, the private equity industry needs to go from being seen as merely investors to being accepted as owners that truly develop companies, thereby creating value for society at large.
As I said in November last year in connection with my announcement, I am very excited about the opportunity to further develop EQT. My vision for EQT is to become the most reputable private equity firm in the world. This is an ambitious target, but I am convinced that EQT has all the pre-requisites to succeed – a fantastic corporate culture, an unparalleled network of Industrial Advisors and a proven investment model!
All the best,
Thomas von Koch
Managing Partner EQT