Sagard Private Equity Canada has secured the first close of its inaugural fund, securing total commitments of $200 million CAD towards its total goal of $400 million.
The new private equity (PE) business, which Sagard launched in January, aims to serve a perceived gap in the middle-market PE landscape in Canada. For Sagard, the PE fund represents the firm’s first foray into Canadian PE space, after establishing a presence in Europe, where it has tackled small and mid-market opportunities since 2002.
“Since our launch, we have been focused on filling the clear gap in the Canadian mid-market private equity landscape.”
-Marie-Claude Boisvert, Sagard PE Canada
Sagard PE Canada secured its first close from a group of institutional investors that includes Canada Life, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Export Development Canada (EDC), Investissement Québec, BMO Financial Group, CIBC, and Sagard Holdings.
“Since our launch, we have been focused on filling the clear gap in the Canadian mid-market private equity landscape, and the response to our fundraising efforts has been very positive,” said Marie-Claude Boisvert, partner and head of Sagard PE Canada. “As a result, we are well-positioned to create value by leveraging the talent and expertise of our team and the resources of Sagard’s CA$11.1 billion investment platform.”
Sagard Holdings, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Power Corp, is an alternative asset manager with a presence in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia. Sagard invests across four asset classes: private equity, private credit, royalties, and venture capital through Portage Ventures and Diagram Ventures.
Sagard PE Canada’s investment efforts are being led by Boisvert, a PE veteran formerly of Clearspring Capital Partners and Kilmer Capital Partners, and Patrick Daignault, who previously served as senior director of PE at PSP Investments. The firm, which has offices in Montréal and Toronto, focuses on mid-market opportunities in “less cyclical sectors” like financial services and manufacturing where its team has “deep industry knowledge.”
The firm looks to invest as either a control or active minority shareholder, concentrating on mid-market businesses with strong management teams and at least $10 million in earnings before income, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) with attractive organic or acquisition growth opportunities.
Through the fund, which has a 10-year timeline, Sagard plans to invest in eight Canadian companies and deploy at least $25 million in equity per firm.
“We are proud to support Marie-Claude Boisvert—one of the few women in Canada to launch and lead a private equity fund—and her amazing team,” said Paul Desmarais III, Sagard’s chairman and CEO.
To date, Sagard PE Canada has made one investment, acquiring Montréal-based company LOU-TEC in September. Founded in 1979, LOU-TEC rents out heavy machinery, specialized equipment, and tools used in the construction, renovation, and maintenance of commercial, industrial, institutional, and residential buildings.
Earlier this year, OMERS Ventures’ founder and former CEO John Ruffolo launched Maverix Private Equity to fill a similar investment gap with deals that are too early for traditional PE firms and too late for venture capital firms.
Feature image of Marie-Claude Boisvert, courtesy of Sagard