Europe/Vienna – 04:14

Vienna, October 5, 2020

RBI and C-Quadrat launch growth fund for Austrian medium-sized enterprises

Medium-sized companies account for around 50 per cent of gross domestic investment and almost every second employee works in a medium-sized company. Austrian SMEs are traditionally very strong in research and development and represent a large number of global innovation leaders. Nevertheless, there has been a lack of domestic venture capital for growth and buy-out financing in this market segment in Austria for some time. The current COVID crisis further aggravates the situation also for many attractive growth companies with equity requirements and intact business models.

"The government and the banks took a first important step at the beginning of the crisis and secured the liquidity of Austrian companies. We now have to facilitate the next step very quickly in order to strengthen the equity base of innovative growth companies. At RBI, we are taking responsibility and initiating the Austrian Growth Capital Fund together with our project partner C-Quadrat. We want to set up a powerful Austrian private equity fund for medium-sized companies and thus make a significant contribution to closing the equity gap of high-growth SMEs. This initiative should be understood as a building block for strengthening Austrian SMEs, and we are prepared to participate in other initiatives as well," says RBI CEO Johann Strobl.

The fund has a target volume of up to 200 million euros and invests equity and equity-like instruments in predominantly Austrian medium-sized companies. RBI will act as an anchor investor and, together with C-Quadrat and Kathrein Privatbank, is actively soliciting further institutional investors such as banks, insurance companies, foundations, family offices and state investors.

"In times of low interest rates, we offer investors the rare opportunity to benefit directly from the innovative strength of Austria's medium-sized companies. At the same time, we enable investors to participate in the expected economic upturn of the coming years through their investments. We are very pleased to have won C-Quadrat as manager for the Austrian Growth Capital Fund. C-Quadrat ensures the independence of the fund management and has a team with an excellent track record in the SME private equity business," explains Valerie Brunner, Head of Institutional Clients at RBI.

"We are pleased to make a contribution to Austria with the Austrian Growth Capital Fund in order to close the equity gap for high-growth SMEs. There are hardly any private equity investors with a presence in Vienna, and there is a lack of professional capital with which a high return can be achieved, especially in times of economic upturn," says Alex Schütz, CEO of C-Quadrat, who is using the fund to make a direct offer to predominantly institutional investors.

The Austrian Growth Capital Fund’s investment focus is on minority investments and, in selected cases, majority investments in high-growth scale-ups and SMEs in Austria or with a strong Austrian focus. The target companies should be in a sustainable competitive position with clear growth and value enhancement opportunities and meet ESG criteria.

"The Austrian SME landscape offers a large number of exciting potential investment companies and we expect that in the upswing after the COVID crisis there will be an increased demand for capital for growth and digitization and that company successions will be reorganized. In our view, the skepticism towards private equity investors that was still widespread in Austria a few years ago has clearly diminished, and the successes of our team are very helpful in convincing entrepreneurs in search of growth capital of the advantages of a partnership with us," says Cristobal Mendez de Vigo, Group Managing Director of the C-Quadrat Investment Group.

RBI and C-Square have set themselves ambitious goals. The first investments should be made as early as the first half of 2021.

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