PE firms set to be hiring in 2010

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Nordic private equity firms are expected to be dipping their toes back into the recruitment market next year, as activity and fund-raising in the region looks set to remain strong.

Last month Danish telecoms operator TDC said it planned to merge with its majority owner Nordic Telephone Company, which is in turn owned by a consortium of private equity firms comprising Apax Partners, Blackstone, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Permira Advisers and Providence Equity.

The move has been widely seen as a signal that its owners are preparing for an eventual flotation of TDC.

Other recent activity includes a move last month by Nordic PE firm EQT to team up with the former chairman of generic German drug company Ratiopharm to reportedly bid for the company, with other PE firms, including Permira, also said to be casting an eye over the firm.

Many firms began tentatively recruiting again from the summer onwards, says David Richardson, Nordic consultant at recruiter Private Equity Recruitment.

"Many major funds and a lot of smaller funds have recruited at least one person somewhere this year. But, even if they are based in Stockholm, it may be that they are covering perhaps Oslo, Copenhagen or Helsinki," he explains.

And, with an expectation that deal activity will continue to pick up into 2010, there could well be further opportunities in the pipeline, particularly for those with experience beyond Sweden.

"While there will always be opportunities within Stockholm, if you have Norwegian, Danish or

Finnish as a language and good contacts in those areas you will probably be in demand," says Richardson.

"Hiring will continue, though I don't think it will go back to 06/07 levels anytime soon. But it will probably be pretty stable and at around 08 levels, which is not at all bad. I suspect we might see many firms taking on at least perhaps one to two associate-level hires, though probably more to fill gaps rather than to expand teams," he adds.

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