Resource Partners, AXA to deploy €300m in CEE food and agribusiness

AXA has committed €50m to the Carlyle spin-out’s fund – nearing an expected €180m final close – and will also co-invest the remaining €120m of its CEE fund with Resource Partners.

Resource Partners has struck a strategic partnership with AXA Private Equity that will see the duo deploy roughly €300 million in the Central and Eastern Europe region. The partnership will focus mainly on mid-size companies in the food and agriculture sector in Poland.

Resource Partners’ debut fund, expected to close soon on roughly €180 million, will co-invest the remaining €120 million of AXA’s CEE-focused fund, Resource Partners managing partner Ryszard Wojtkowski told PEO.

The partnership allows Resource Partners to participate in slightly bigger deals and gives it further penetration in the region, said Wojtkowski. The firm, which spun out of Carlyle in late 2008, has an office in Warsaw and had been planning to open a second in the region, but will now leverage the three-person office AXA opened in Vienna in 2008. There are plans to increase the Warsaw team, which currently numbers six investment professionals.

The partnership is the first of a kind for AXA, the Paris-based firm said in a statement that noted the agreement will give it “privileged access to investment opportunities both in Poland and in the Baltic States, where Resource Partners has considerable experience and expertise”.

Dominique Gaillard, AXA’s head of direct funds, said the agreement would be a “blueprint” for future projects in the region.

Resource Partners began fundraising in 2009, having become independent of Carlyle in November 2008. Carlyle shut down its Warsaw-based operations as it sought to cut costs amid the financial downturn. The 12-strong Warsaw team, led by Wojtkowski, had been established just one year earlier.

The firm’s debut fund will invest predominantly in the Polish consumer sector including food and agribusiness, taking minority and majority positions. Up to 40 percent of the fund can be invested outside of Poland using a more generalist strategy, according to a document published by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).