Former Goldman Sachs partner launches fund of up to $550 million in Portugal

By Sergio Goncalves

LISBON (Reuters) – Fortitude Capital, founded by former Goldman Sachs partner Antonio Esteves, Brazilian bank BTG Pactual and Portuguese asset manager Atrium, has launched its first fund with a target size of up to 500 million euros ($550 million).

Esteves said on Tuesday that, though focused on investing in Portugal, the fund would not exclude opportunities abroad, and was targeting any sector through instruments such as equity, hybrid debt or senior debt.

He said that, contrary to the majority of funds in Portugal, the first Fortitude fund would be mostly funded by private investors and its founders will be the fund’s biggest investors.

“Regardless of the 500 million euros of (future) size of the fund, our firepower will go far beyond that due to the gigantic capacity of BTG Pactual and a series of international institutional clients that may co-invest (with the fund),” he told reporters.

Esteves said the fund “could aim to make transactions of 1 or 2 billion euros with these co-investors”.

He added that Portugal, only sporadically on the radar of global private equity funds and international investment banks, was always short of private capital and very dependent on national banks.

In Portugal, private equity funds are normally funded by public money and tend to be up to 100 or 200 million euros.

Esteves said the fund was looking at the agriculture, health, energy, and entertainment and content sectors.

The first investment should be 50 million euros in the agricultural sector “in the next two months”, with an investment of 350 million euros also in the pipeline by the end of the year.

Esteves and Atrium each hold 37.5% of Fortitude Capital, while BTG Pactual has 25%.

($1 = 0.9084 euros)

(Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Mark Potter)