The total amount of equity investments in European companies rose 14pc to total €47.4bn in 2015, according to new data from Invest Europe.
The number of companies invested in decreased by 11pc to nearly 5,000, 86pc of which were SMEs.
According to Invest Europe, venture capital investment increased by 5pc to €3.5bn, with the amount invested greater across all stages, led by seed investments, which were up 18pc.
Close to 2,800 companies received investments, down 12pc, indicating a trend towards larger financing rounds.
‘Despite volatile financial markets and macroeconomic challenges, private equity and venture capital continue to be a solid source of investment capital for growing European companies’
– DÖRTE HÖPPNER
Buyout investments increased by 16pc to €36.3bn into more than 900 companies.
Growth investment increased by 11pc to €6.5bn, its highest level since 2008.
The number of companies with growth investment reduced by 14pc to over 1,100.
Total fundraising in 2015 reached €47.6bn, almost matching the level of 2014.
The number of funds raised by investment players decreased by 15pc compared to 2014 but above the levels of 2012 and 2013.
According to Invest Europe, European private equity and venture capital raised in the past three years was 70pc more than between 2010 and 2012.
In 2015, some 40pc of institutional investors came from outside Europe.
Pension funds provided more than one-third of the capital.
Venture capital fundraising increased by 8pc to €5.3bn.
Exit stage left
Almost 2,400 European companies exited in 2015, representing former equity investments of €40.5bn, matching a similar level in 2014.
The most prominent exit routes were trade sales at 29pc, followed by sale to other equity firms at 27pc and sale of quoted equity 17pc.
There were 50 IPOs, matching 2014.
Exits from already-listed companies in the form of sale of equity increased 80pc to €6.7bn.
Exits from venture capital investments increased 10pc to €2.1bn.
Buyout exits at cost remained stable at €34bn. Former growth investments divested at cost to €3.2bn, up 40pc.
“Despite volatile financial markets and macroeconomic challenges, private equity and venture capital continue to be a solid source of investment capital for growing European companies,” said Invest Europe’s chief executive Dörte Höppner.
“Last year’s robust fundraising builds on the €150bn total raised since 2013, reflecting institutional investors’ confidence in the asset class and the European market,” said Höppner. “Over 40pc of funding came from investors outside Europe.”
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