Our history as a pioneer in the Nordic private equity industry
CapMan Capital Management was founded in 1989. CapMan was owned by institutional owners KOP, Pohjola and Programator, and Ari Tolppanen was nominated as CEO of CapMan. In 1990 CapMan established its first private equity fund, Finnventure Fund I. The fund's size was approx. €11 million. CapMan also made its first Investment in Finnish Kuusamo Tropic spa resort. In 1993 Ari Tolppanen, Vesa Vanha-Honko, Tuomo Raasio and Olli Liitola made an MBO through their company CapMan Partners and acquired CapMan Capital Management from the institutional owners. Between 1994 and 1999 the Senior Partner group was enlarged by Peter Buch Lund, Heikki Westerlund and Petri Saavalainen.
First mezzanine and technology funds and an associated company
CapMan started to grow its private equity business substantially in the mid 1990s. New funds were raised every year and in 1995 CapMan enlarged its investments from equity to mezzanine, and started to build up technology operations in addition to the buyout operations. Gradually, CapMan achieved a dominant market share in the Finnish private equity market. In spring 1999, CapMan joined forces with top French private equity professionals to establish Access Capital Partners, a leading European manager and advisor of fund of funds. Currently, CapMan holds 1% of the shares in Access.
CapMan listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange
CapMan's B shares began trading on the Helsinki Stock Exchange on 2 April 2001. CapMan was one of the first listed private equity management companies globally. Since then, several international alternative asset managers have been listed on the stock exchange. Read more: CapMan's shares and shareholders.
Nordic expansion during 2001–2004
During 2001–2004, in line with CapMan's Nordic growth strategy published at the time of listing, CapMan expanded its operations to Denmark. The first steps of Nordic expansion were taken in April 2001, when CapMan acquired Danish private equity company Nordic Private Equity Group. In February 2002 CapMan acquired Swedestart Management AB, one of the leading Swedish venture capital companies within technology and life science. The Nordic growth strategy was finalised in January 2004 when CapMan opened an office in Norway. For the first time CapMan's capital under management exceeded one billion euros.
Operations expanded to real estate investments
Responding to investors' demand, CapMan established its first private equity real estate fund in summer 2005. In March Ari Tolppanen, then CEO of CapMan Plc, was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors and Heikki Westerlund was appointed CEO. During the year the total capital under management grew by 76 per cent as a result of the new funds. In 2005 CapMan invested in nine portfolio companies and in 18 real estate properties.
Active years of exits
Year 2006 was one of the most active years for exits. CapMan made also several new investments. In 2007 CapMan exited successfully from CapMan Real Estate I fund's portfolio. During the year a more active development of CapMan service platform was initiated to enable future expansion into new investment areas.
Operations expanded to Russia and to investments in listed companies
In 2008 CapMan took two major steps forward in its strategy of utilising growth opportunities by expanding operations to Russia and establishing Public Market Fund for investments in Nordic listed companies.
20 years in private equity
In 2009 CapMan had been in the private equity market for 20 years and had established its position as one of the leading players in the Nordic countries and Russia. The financial crisis caused turmoil in the global economy but CapMan’s portfolio companies were able to manage the challenges well.
Active year for investment operations
In 2010 the investment teams made 13 new investments, and exited 10 portfolio companies and one real estate investment. In June Heikki Westerlund, CEO, was elected Chairman of CapMan Plc's Board of Directors and Lennart Simonsen was appointed CEO. In the fall CapMan made a decision not to establish new independent technology and life science funds.
New strategy, mission and vision
In February 2011 CapMan announced its new strategy, mission and vision. In May CapMan decided to close the office in Denmark and to focus on development and growth of its key investment areas Buyout, Russia, Public Market and Real Estate.