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Soros Vet Preps Eastern Europe Private Equity Fund

Ljubljana, Slovenia-based asset management firm KD Group is set to launch its first two funds for outside investors, focused on private equity and real estate.

Ljubljana, Slovenia-based asset management firm KD Group is set to launch its first two funds for outside investors, focused on private equity and real estate. The private equity fund will be co-managed by Gavin Ryan, former head of Soros Investment Capital Management.

Both KD funds will be focused on Southeast Europe. The firm has never before sought clients, having focused on investing its own assets via managed accounts, said MatjaÏ Peterman, partner. Peterman will co-manage the private equity fund with Ryan. With EUR850 million under management, KD is believed to be the largest independent asset management firm in Slovenia. Ryan said he joined the firm in mid-2005. His old firm, a private equity shop focused on Southeast Europe that was majority-owned by George Soros, has since been renamed Bedminster Capital Management.

The private equity fund will launch first, probably mid-year. KD has raised E30 million and is targeting E70 million, with E15 million of this to be provided by the firm, said Peterman. The fund will invest in the former Yugoslavia, Romania and Bulgaria, targeting the financial, telecommunications and healthcare sectors. "We already have a presence in these countries and there's a good proprietary pipeline," he said. Eastern European economies are growing at a rate that is over 2% faster than Central Europe's, Peterman added.

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