Ireland's National Pension Reserve Fund to seek buyer for private equity holdings- report

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Dec 12, 2013 01:58 AM EST

A report on The Irish Times said Ireland's National Pension Reserve Fund, or NPRF, was believed to be looking for a buyer for its private equity investments. As of the end of September, the pension fund's holdings were valued at €716 million. According to information gleaned from its website, the NPRF was set up in April 2001 to meet the costs of Ireland's social welfare and public service pensions as much as possible from 2025 onwards, when these costs are projected to increase dramatically due to the ageing of itspopulation.

The report said the sale is part of a government-mandated move for the fund to become a strategic investment fund. This shift involves putting the fund's resources to productive investments in the Irish economy to be matched with commercial funding coming from private investors, the report added.

The sale is reported to be managed by UBS, with initial offers expected to be due early this month. Although an NPRF spokesman did not comment on the sale process or confirm the role of UBS, the spokesman did say that the fund will transition the equities, bonds and alternatives in its global portfolio into a strategic investment fund to follow its change in mandate. The shift, which will occur over a number of years, would include its private equity investments worldwide. The investments would have to be realized either through distributions or be sold, the report said.

The report also said that Ardian, Coller Capital, AlpInvest Partners and Lexington Partners could be interested in the portfolio based on a Wall Street Journal report. A sovereign wealth fund as well as Pantheon were said to have expressed interest in the holding.

Most of the NPRF's private equity portfolio is in global investments with only 6% placed in Ireland-based funds as of December last year. 

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