The Eurazeo China Acceleration Fund (ECAF) – a France-China fund jointly launched by Eurazeo, China Investment Corporation (CIC) and BNP Paribas – has made its first bet by pouring 80 million euros ($95 million) into vitreoretinal surgery specialist Dutch Ophthalmic Research Centre (DORC).
This is the first transaction made by the vehicle, which is managed by Eurazeo, a global investment firm with a diversified portfolio of 18.8 billion euros ($22.4 billion) in assets under management (AUM), said Eurazeo in a recent statement.
Also known as the “France-China Cooperation Fund,” the ECAF was created in 2019 when a letter of intent was signed in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.
The joint fund, backed by Chinese sovereign wealth fund CIC, targets to invest alongside Eurazeo in French and European companies active in sectors with high-growth potential in China, such as advanced industrials, business services, consumer goods and services, healthcare and digital technology.
Its maiden investment comes about two months after the ECAF reached the first closing at 400 million euros ($476 million) that were entirely underwritten by the three founding institutions, namely Eurazeo, CIC and French banking group BNP Paribas.
CIC will support portfolio companies’ foray into the Chinese market, while BNP Paribas will provide a range of contacts across France and the rest of Europe, according to a separate statement.
This syndication has no impact on the other funds managed by Eurazeo, and in particular, Eurazeo Capital IV, which is also an investor in DORC. Eurazeo provides 50 per cent of ECAF’s commitments, so the positive impact of the new transaction on its cash position is 40 million euros ($47.5 million).
Established in 1983, DORC manufactures and distributes disposable and reusable instruments, liquids and machinery for ophthalmic surgery, specifically those used in vitreoretinal procedures. The company serves over 5,700 surgeons across 80 countries. It generated revenues of 135 million euros ($161 million) in 2019.
Following the investment from the ECAF, DORC will gain access to the network of local experts built up by CIC, BNP Paribas, and Eurazeo.
The company will be able to ramp up its expansion in China, where growth in the vitreoretinal surgery market is expected to be in the range of 15-20 per cent in coming years, according to the statement.
The fund already contributed to the creation of an advisory committee, composed of Chinese surgeons, which will assist DORC with its market entry and help with the development of an offer designed to meet specific local needs.