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Bridgepoint hires advent's Tan for Central European expansion

Bridgepoint Capital Ltd., manager of a €2.5 bln ($3.3 bln) European buyout fund, hired Advent International's Poland chief Khai Tan as the company plans its first investments in Central and Eastern Europe.

The London-based buyout firm will also open an office in Warsaw, Bridgepoint said in a statement today. Tan was CFO of Eastbridge Group, a firm that invests in central and eastern Europe, before he joined Advent in 2003. Bridgepoint plans to grow investments in eastern Europe as the region's economy is forecast to expand at more than twice the pace of the dozen countries sharing the euro this year. At the same time, competition between buyout firms for the same targets in Western Europe is intensifying as firms raise record funds for acquisitions.
„Many of our existing investments already have significant interests in the region and a physical presence will allow us to support them more effectively with acquisitions or with operational developments there,” Bridgepoint Managing Partner William Jackson said. „An office will also allow us to access new investment opportunities.”

The firm will face competition from Boston-based Advent, which raised €330 million for central European takeovers in 2005, and other London-based buyout firms. Permira Advisers LLP, Europe's biggest buyout firm, agreed to buy Hungarian chemicals company Borsodchem Nyrt for more than $1.1 billion last year. Bridgepoint spent €868 million on takeovers in 2006, and returned more than €2 billion to its backers, the firm said. The firm's investments include British retailer Pets at Home and self-storage company Safestore Plc. (Bloomberg)