Total fundraising on the continent in 2022 was the highest ever recorded and 30% over 2021 levels, according to a report released by Invest Europe.
Investing in Europe: Private Equity Activity 2022 states that the number of funds raising capital over the year – 801 – was the second-highest number ever recorded and 13% over the five-year average. The report went on to say 27% of funds raised came through pension funds, with North American capital accounting for the highest proportion (24%). It also said 276 funds reached their final closing during 2022, raising a total of €102bn since inception. This, it said, was the second-highest number of funds reaching a final closing in any year ever recorded.
Alongside this, the total equity amount invested in European companies in 2022 – €130bn – was the second highest level in any year recorded and is 30% over the average for the previous five years. Some 9,033 companies received investment – 7% above the average for the previous five years and 87% of which were SMEs. Venture capital investment last year reached €18bn, which Invest Europe said was nearly 50% more than the average for the past five years.
“After reaching the high-water mark for investment in 2021, the European private equity and venture capital industry continues to reach new heights,” said Eric de Montgolfier, CEO of Invest Europe. “Strong support from both inside and outside Europe demonstrates the confidence that long-term investors are placing in managers to deliver returns that can grow the pensions and savings of citizens globally.”
He added: “Rather than sitting on the sidelines, this capital – along with operational expertise – is going into European companies to transform mature businesses and get start-ups and growing SMEs off the ground.”
For their part, divestments fell around 27% in 2022, said Invest Europe. This, it said, was possibly due to “difficult macroeconomic conditions throughout the year”. It added that 3,340 European companies were exited during the year – down 17% from 2021. Some 41%, it said, exited by being sold to another private equity firm.