She added that Veritas did not usually back inaugural fund launches, but that Livonia was “very well connected within the local economies.”She added: “Building regional champions instead of country-specific winners makes a lot of sense. Economic growth in the Baltic region is among the strongest in Europe and the fundamentals are in good shape.”Kristo Oidermaa, portfolio manager at LHV Pension Funds Oidermaa added that the fund commitment fit well into its existing strategy, allowing it to benefit from growth in the Baltic market.“Our investment strategy has a small home bias and we regard all three Baltic countries as our home markets,” Oidermaa said. “Over the last few years, we have considerably increased our allocation of alternative assets, with commercial real estate and timber and now private equity funds.”Kaido Veske, co-founding partner of Livonia Partners, said that the fund would focus on mature companies with a track record of up to 5 years and an annual turnover starting at €5m, but up to €40m.He added that the fund is looking for companies with an export focus and which were undercapitalized, and that while earnings volatility in the region would still be higher than elsewhere in Europe, the countries in question also boasted higher growth than Europe as a whole. Finnish pensions insurer Veritas and LHV Pension Funds, Estonia’s second largest pension fund manager, are among six investors committing €70m to a pan-Baltic private equity fund.Domiciled in Latvia, the Livonia Partners-managed fund will invest €3-15m of equity and mezzanine capital per investment in up to 12 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) active largely in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The first investments will be made in the next few months, with the possibility that firms in adjacent countries could also receive funding.Livonia Partners Fund I will acquire a blend of majority and minority stakes, acting as a hands-on investor and holding the stakes for around 5 years. Though it has a generalist mandate, the fund’s initial focus will be on manufacturing, business services and consumer companies, reflecting the management team’s experience.The €2.8bn Veritas has committed €5m from its private equity allocation. Ilona Karpinnen, portfolio manager, private equity, Veritas, told IPE: “Livonia fits well into our private equity portfolio, as European small and mid-market buyouts are the backbone of our private equity programme.
Dutch offshore access solutions provider Ampelmann has formed an exclusive partnership with Seaqualize, a Dutch marine motion technology innovator.Ampelmann said that the collaboration would focus on the development of the latest S-type gangway.The S-type is designed specifically to be fully integrated into large high-speed vessels and dedicated to long-term crew change operations.The company added that the new gangway was designed to compensate the motion characteristics of these vessels when in dynamic positioning alongside a platform.Part of the solution comes from the balanced heave compensation technology of Seaqualize. This patented technology engages the non-linear force of a gas spring to create an easily adjustable counterbalance, enabling balanced heave compensation.The full-scale prototype is funded by a subsidy of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs through top sector energy.Wiebe Jan Emsbroek, commercial manager of crew change at Ampelmann, said: “The crew change market requires a light-weight transfer system which enables a safer and more cost-effective alternative to other crew change methods, such as helicopters.“It [the S-type] utilizes electric actuators opposed to traditional hydraulics which results in reduced fuel consumption for the vessel and significant overall project savings.”Production of the S-type is scheduled to start in early 2018 and Ampelmann predicts that the cost for operators using the system would be around 30 percent less than those using helicopters.“The S-type can continuously transfer 50 people and luggage in five minutes in significant wave heights of up to three to four meters. The S-type design can be tailored for installation to individual vessels and is expected to be a particularly attractive option on current or new build fast or light-weight medium-sized vessels, such as mono-hulls, catamarans, and trimarans,” the company said.
Former Paris Saint Germain and Athletic Bilbao coach Luis Fernandez has been shortlisted by the Republic Democratic of Congo Football Federation as one of the candidates to replace Claude Le Roy who officially resigned during the weekend as the team’s head coach.The Leopards have crashed out of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign and officials say focus is now on how to build a strong and competitive outfit for future engagements.Another name on the list is Pierre Lechantre, also a Frenchman, who won the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations with Cameroon and was closed to claiming Senegal’s job last year.Fernandez, who last worked in Israel as the national team coach, says he is open to propositions from the Congolese authorities.The central African team will play their final match of the World Cup qualifying against Togo on September 6 in Lome.