GERMANY/NORDICS - Institutional investors in Germany have asked Schroders to increase the size of their fully invested Nordic fund and given permission to the fund manager to raise additional equity from new investors.
Two cornerstone investors in the €120m Nordic 1 KAG fund, keen to increase their exposure to the Nordic region, suggested expanding the fund as an alternative to investing in new funds.
The Schroders fund, designed specifically for German life and pension funds, was established five years ago and has since fully invested all of its capital, mainly in Finland.
According to Ubbe Strihagen, director of Schroders' business in Scandinavia, two of the five underlying investors requested that the fund be extended and the fund management firm has taken the opportunity to open the fund up to more investors.
"It was something that originated from the cornerstone investors that wanted to deploy more capital and felt we were the best option for them to get access to the Nordic region," Strihagen said.
"Having backed us before they wanted to back us with some more capital."
Both Schroders and the fund's investors are positive on the outlook for the Nordic market, so it seemed a logical progression to raise as much new capital as possible.
"We said let's take on some more capital because we believe in the market," Strihagen said.
"The Nordic market is roughly lagging the UK market by nine months. We've seen the downturn and we think we are pretty close to the bottom at the moment.
"We think the time now is very good to deploy additional capital into the Nordic markets. The prospects for the Nordics compared to a lot other markets across Europe is very positive.
"We are we now both looking at new investment opportunities as well as talking to some additional German investors about this."
The fund is currently almost entirely invested in Finland, with a small exposure to Sweden, because during the investment period Schroders identified the best opportunities in the Finnish market.
However, Strihagen said the intention was to diversify the fund so that it is "not tilted so much to Finland".
Norway will also be included in the fund's potential investable universe for the first ti