Insights from the 2022 Austrian / CEE Private Equity & Venture Capital Breakfast

On May 17th, 2022, approximately 100 senior decision-makers from private equity, financial institutions, advisory firms and holding companies gathered at the CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz headquarters in Vienna to discuss industry trends and exchange opinions.

The event had been postponed twice due to COVID-19, so participation was enthusiastic and energised.

Insights from the 2022 Austrian / CEE Private Equity & Venture Capital Breakfast

The panels were moderated by Alexander Rakosi, Partner, CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz and Poul Pedersen, Executive Chairman of Pedersen & Partners. Lively debate insights were provided by the panel members:

  • Markus Lang – Partner, Speedinvest
  • Pekka Mäki – Managing Partner, 3TS Capital Partners
  • Farsin Yadegardjam – Partner, Co-Investor/EVP Capital
  • Philipp Freyschlag – Director, Bregal Unternehmerkapital
  • Gernot Hofer – Board Member, Invest AG;
  • Karl Lankmayr – Managing Director, AG Capital
  • Niklas Pichler – Managing Partner, BlackPeak Capital
  • Klaus Vukovich – Managing Partner, Alantra Austria & CEE

Katharina Kaiser, Client Partner & Country Manager for Austria at Pedersen & Partners summarised the key takeaways from the debate as follows:

  • While there is potential for further growth, the last 12 months have seen very positive developments for Austrian private equity funds. New funds have been raised, and large deals have been completed by local PE players.
  • The M&A and private equity market has been active in 2021 and Q1 2022, but most experts now forecast a slowdown.
  • It has become harder for technology firms and technology-focused funds to raise money in recent months, and valuations have come down significantly. However, well-funded portfolio firms can take advantage via add-on acquisitions.
  • Fund managers and portfolio firms are skilled at adapting to external events, such as the war in Ukraine, supply chain issues, inflation, and interest rates. For example, there is a preference for investing in firms that have the bargaining power to increase prices.
  • Portfolio management continues to grow more professional, including well-structured plans for securing the best leadership team, ESG, digitalisation, internationalisation, etc.