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Private equity and venture capital fundraising for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) hit highest level in a decade in 2018, at €1.8 billion.
Buyout funds in CEE raised €1.1 billion, while the region’s venture capital funds attracted over €500 million for the second year in a row.
Private equity investment into companies across CEE reached €2.7 billion in 2018, the second-highest amount ever achieved, following 2017’s record €3.5 billion. The number of companies backed increased by 50% year-on-year to almost 400, also the second-highest level on record. This was driven by a sharp increase in CEE companies supported by venture capital.
The number of private equity and venture capital-backed exits in CEE reached an all-time high of 128 companies divested in 2018. This represented a total value of over €1 billion for the fifth year running, measured at historical investment cost. Poland accounted for over half of this total exit value with €575 million.
Poland saw CEE’s highest amount of private equity investment with its companies receiving €850 million in total last year. The Czech Republic was close behind with €767 million invested into its companies via private equity and venture capital funds. Hungary had the highest number of companies receiving investment with over 190 backed last year, almost half of the regional total.
All countries in the CEE region covered by Invest Europe’s report surpassed the European Union’s 2.1% GDP growth rate in 2018, according to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Eight of the countries achieved annual growth above 4%, with Poland, Hungary and Latvia experiencing particularly high growth rates, reaching 5.1%, 4.9% and 4.8% respectively.