Partners hires new head of PE; 3i spends holiday money

Wolf-Henning Scheider joins Partners from ZF Group.

Morning Eurohubsters, Craig McGlashan here with the Dealflow.

Secular growth. Hot off the presses this morning is news that Swiss investment firm Partners Group has appointed a new partner and head of private equity – Wolf-Henning Scheider.

I got in touch with Partners to find out a little more about how Scheider will fit within the firm and to hear about the company’s private equity portfolio, which is organised around four industry verticals: goods and products, health and life, services, and technology. The firm believes over time this approach will lead to circa 25 percent of investment exposure across each vertical.

“Meanwhile, our investment focus is centred around the three overarching giga themes that we believe are driving structural change and secular growth – digitisation and automation, new living, and decarbonization and sustainability,” a spokesperson told me. “These themes underscore our thematic investing approach within the industry verticals and shape the landscape of opportunities we prioritise. Wolf’s appointment deepens the transformational investing capabilities that underlie our private equity approach, and there will be no change to that approach.”

We’d love to know what you think are the big themes driving growth in the private equity market. Is Partners on the money with its list? Drop me a note here.

Scheider will join Partners Group at the end of his contract as CEO and chairman of the board of management at German car parts maker ZF Group. That contract ends in January.

He will take over from David Layton, Partners Group’s CEO, as head of private equity. Layton kept that responsibility after becoming co-CEO in 2018 and sole CEO in 2021.

Layton’s switch out of the private equity head role after taking the top job was always planned, the firm told me.

“Private equity is the largest asset class by assets under management at Partners Group, at $63 billion, and as such it made sense for David to continue overseeing the private equity group until the appropriate successor was identified,” the spokesperson added.

Package deal. I’m sure all our readers (and ourselves!) have got one eye on some upcoming summer holidays, and we had a deal very much in that theme on Monday.

3i Group has agreed to invest in Amsterdam-based online holiday packages platform VakantieDiscounter.

The private equity firm is betting that the worst of the coronavirus disruption is behind us and that holiday travel will return to something resembling normality.

“The scalable tech platform will allow VakantieDiscounter to continue its long-term track record of growth and its recovery from the pandemic,” said Boris Kawohl, partner at 3i, in a note.

Taking off. In a similar vein, SVPGlobal has been busy in the aviation industry, deploying over $2.5 billion in aircraft-related investments in the last year and a half.

SVPGlobal raised its holdings on Monday as it took full ownership of Deucalion Aviation, a London-based global provider of aircraft asset management, financing and investment services with a fleet of over 180 aircraft. It previously held a 50 percent stake, having bought the firm alongside EnTrust Global from DVB Bank’s aviation investment and asset management business in June last year.

The deals come at a difficult time for Europe’s airports, which have been suffering from disruption due to staff shortages and strikes. Just this morning, Heathrow Airport capped daily passengers at 100,000 until September, which will be a cut of 4,000 from the forecast average over the period.

We’d love to get your thoughts on whether the travel and aviation industries are fully on the mend or if it’s still too soon to start reinvesting in the sectors. Get in touch here.

Delays. Something caught my eye in the US market yesterday. Our friends over at Buyouts have a great story about how the Biden Administration has implemented a tighter review of filings that companies must submit before completing mergers. Two lawyers told Buyouts that this is leading to increased delays and costs for private equity managers and potential portfolio firms.

It will be interesting to see if that increased regulatory burden in the US means that the European market becomes a relatively more attractive proposition. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one.

That’s all from me today – I’ll speak to you again tomorrow.