Private capital investment closes distance with pre-pandemic levels. According to estimates from the Capital, Growth and Investment Association (Ascri) last year, 841 operations were carried out (a record figure), for a total value of 7,494 million euros. This volume represents a growth of 20% compared to 2020 and register, according to the president of the entity, Aquilino Pena, the second best year for private equity behind 2019.
“2021 has been the year of private capital and of overcoming the situation marked by the pandemic,” he summarized in a meeting with the media collected by Europa Press. “In addition to the return of large operations, the excellent health of the ‘middle market’ and the enormous push of the ‘venture capital’ segment (venture capital) have driven the volumes invested to their second best mark in history with a growth of almost 20% compared to 2020”, he pointed out. The record is 8.5 billion in 2019.
Peña has highlighted that despite the crisis caused by the coronavirus, the sector is experiencing an “excellent time”, once activity has recovered after a three-month break due to confinements.
Large operations, that is, those above 100 million euros, recovered compared to the previous year with 10 transactions in nine companies, which accounted for more than half of the total volume used. In these operations there is a “great diversification” by sectors, as highlighted by the vice president of Ascri, Oriol Pinya, to which is added that many of the companies that appear in the list of large operations were closing small rounds not long ago.
When asked about the high valuations of the companies, Peña pointed out that the rounds are getting bigger and bigger because investors are anticipating future valuations, which adds risk to returns. “You have to be selective and look closely at the quality,” said Peña. Pinya, for her part, added that although valuations are high, international managers continue to see value in Spanish start-ups, where there is still a discount compared to other European neighbors.
In turn, the ‘middle market’ (operations with an investment of between 10 and 100 million euros) continues to be very active and “maintains the intense dynamism of recent years”, registering a new record last year in the number of investments, with 93, and a volume of 2,338 million euros. And in parallel, venture capital has exceeded all historical highs, both in volume (1,942 million) and in number of operations (691).
The sectors that received the greatest volume of investment were ICT/internet, with 28.7% of the total amount; followed by other services, with 27.5%, and hospitality/leisure, with 10.7%. By number of investments, ICT/Internet stands out again, with 427 operations; biotechnology, with 62, and financial services, with 56.