Carlyle Group LP has raised $2.5 billion for an international energy fund as the private equity investor bolsters its oil and gas firepower after the collapse in prices.
Marcel van Poecke, head of Carlyle International Energy Partners, said the Washington-based firm closed the fund after commitments from 160 investors. The new fund, which will invest exclusively outside the U.S., will increase Carlyle’s war chest for energy deals to over $10 billion, the firm said.
“This is one of the best periods, if not the best, to invest in global energy,” van Poecke said in an interview.
Carlyle joins other private equity firms, including Blackstone Group LP, KKR & Co. and Apollo Global Management LLC, in raising extra funds for energy deals as oil and natural gas companies struggle to stay afloat. Oil prices have plunged more than 55 percent over the past year to about $50 a barrel. Blackstone President Tony James said in January his firm was “scrambling” to invest in energy assets.
Van Poecke said he expects a buyer’s market to emerge outside North America in the second half of the year as executives accepted lower valuations for their businesses. With most of the large oil companies saying they aren’t seeking deals to concentrate on cutting spending and maintaining their dividends, private equity may have a relatively open field.
The $2.5 billion international energy fund is the largest ever first time fund in Carlyle’s 28-year history, the company said in a statement. Carlyle surpassed a $1.5 billion fundraising target.