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Aurelius cements private markets fundraising commitment with in-house IR hire

European sponsor Aurelius has hired Helene Schutrumpf as director of fundraising and investor relations (IR). The new position demonstrates the firm’s commitment to raising capital via institutional funds and building relationships with LPs, she told this news service.

“Aurelius has been around since 2005, but back then, there was not really a template or blueprint on how to raise capital,” Schutrumpf said. “They listed and raised capital via public markets, but over the last years have re-focused the firm and will only raise private capital in the future, which is a more commonplace structure for investment firms.”

The GP raised EUR 540m for its first institutional fund, European Opportunities IV, with a final close in 2021.

The hire therefore comes at a pivotal time for Aurelius. “We’re at an inflection point where we are fully committed to transitioning to a different pocket of capital. This is how we are going to raise capital going forward, and we’re considering opening up other products that are currently funded in-house to external investors,” she said.

“We’re excited to have Helene join us as we continue to grow from our beginnings as a small German house into a global mid-market player,” added Dirk Markus, co-founder of Aurelius.

Schutrumpf has 12 years’ experience as a placement agent, providing fundraising advice to private funds across private equity (PE), private credit and real estate.

Liquidity in focus 

“The investor relations component is so important in terms of knowing what your LPs are focused on and what’s important to them,” said Schutrumpf. “With annual distributions down, we want to be LP-friendly, and make an early, large distribution when that capital could have been recycled.”

Amid this tough PE exit environment, Aurelius has made a large distribution to LPs in its 2021-vintage Fund IV via a partial exit of Hallo Healthcare Group, as well as portfolio company dividends, said Schutrumpf.

“This is an exciting time to be joining a firm which has consistently delivered superior returns since 2005 throughout various market cycles,” she said. “Every metric shows that we’re in a challenging fundraising environment, but Aurelius has shown an uncompromising approach to investment fundamentals such as operational improvements and downside protection that will always be in favour with LPs.”

The firm’s first institutional PE fund was backed by a range of LPs including pension funds, insurance companies, funds-of-funds, and family offices, according to Unquote Data. Aurelius made a GP commitment of around half of the capital raised for Fund IV (ca. EUR 193m), including via the team’s own family offices, Schutrumpf noted. The vehicle is currently around 40% deployed, she added.

Fund V is expected to launch in 1Q25 but a target has not yet been set, she said.

Growth on the cards 

As part of its continued growth, the GP is opening an office in New York this month. The firm has tripled its number of employees in the last five years, Schutrumpf said.

Aurelius typically invests in European businesses with revenues of EUR 300m-EUR 400m, typically deploying tickets in the EUR 20m-EUR 80m range, as previously reported. It has historically focused on corporate carve-outs, creating value via operational improvement.

As part of this approach, the firm has a group of 150 operating partners. “The team gets involved at the due diligence stage, offering their expertise on the ability to effect change immediately post-closing in areas like procurement, IT and HR,” Schutrumpf said. “This hands-on approach allows the team to tackle complex investments in a methodical and structured way, improve operational efficiency, and drive growth and returns.”

Alongside the continued development of its PE strategy, Aurelius is looking to increase its activity in the asset-based lending (ABL) segment with a new institutional fund. The firm has previously been funding ABL deals on its balance sheet and will look to raise around EUR 200m for its first external credit fund, Schutrumpf said.

Aurelius Finance Company (AFC) delivers superior risk-adjusted-returns by lending to companies overlooked by the traditional banks, while maintaining strong downside protection, Schutrumpf said. “We’re starting to see more interest in lending against liquidate-able assets in the current uncertain market environment, but it is still a nascent space in which AFC is an early mover. It’s an exciting time to be active in the market with a niche, secured lending product.”