Ex-bankers launch new investment company (news2biz ESTONIA)

Estonian ex-bankers, in cooperatin with Luxembourg and local partners and co-investorslaunched the asset manasgement and investment company Redgate Capital with an ambitious aim to claim a place amongst top investment managers not only in the Baltics, but in the whole region of the former Soviet Union.

The founders of Redgate Capital are Mart Altvee, former head of SEB in Estonia and Veikko Maripuu, a long-term partner and head of asset management in Suprema and Evli Securities. This team of senior partners is also joined by Aare Tammemäe, former head of Nordea’s corporate banking division.

“We have set a clear focus on the Baltics and the area of former Soviet Union. Our aim is to capitalise on our team’s knowledge and experience on these markets, and claim a top position amongst focused asset managers as well as financial advisers in the region,” says Mr Maripuu to news2biz ESTONIA.

According to Mr Maripuu, the company will have three primary fields of operation: classic asset management, mainly operating in the form of Luxembourg-registered open-ended SICAV-funds, investing mainly to Russia and other Former Soviet Union countries, alternative investing – investments in private equity and selected real estate projects that could also include mezzanine capital and bridge financing, and financial advisory focusing on Baltic countries.

Recently, Redgate Asset Management, subsidiary of Redgate Capital received the fund manager’s permit from the financial supervisory authority Finantsinspektsioon. “We aim to launch two open-ended equity funds this year mainly focusing on Russia and Ukraine. Yes, those markets are currently going downhill – but we see there are a number of great long-term investing possibilities for us to be found even in the times of decline. We are there ourselves to touch it and smell it and see if that value really exists,” says Mr Maripuu.

While Redgate Capital finds Baltic markets too small for classic open-ended equity funds, it does not rule them out completely. “The liquidity on Baltic stock exchanges is very small, for instance. Still, we may choose to take a position in one or another enterprise in the Baltics in the future but not before we will be convinced the Baltic economies will bottom. In fact, this may take a time,” says Mr Maripuu.

Still, the Baltic countries will be among the main fields for the alternative investment business line of Redgate Capital. In 2009 and 2010, the company plans to activate this line too, by setting up two closed-end funds, one based on real estate, the other on private equity, strictly subject to proper timing.

“Our long-term target is to manage assets exceeding the amounts that we have managed previously,” says Mr Maripuu, citing that the assets managed by the core team reached USD 600m.

“But besides ambitions, we are also very pragmatic – the market situation in the year 2009 is such that no one can make precise predictions nor tell where the market is going to head next. Therefore, our first aim is just to establish ourselves on the markets and keep strong link with our prospective clients.”

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