Carlyle shutters CEE, Asian leveraged finance operations

The private equity firm will continue to invest in these regions, but has decided dedicated teams weren’t warranted given global financial turmoil coupled with the ‘difficult investment’ climate.

The Carlyle Group has reassessed its business lines and shut down its Warsaw office as well as its Asian leveraged finance group, both of which were established last year.

“In a global downturn and considering the difficult investment climate, the decision was made that these areas of the business did not warrant a dedicated team or funds,” the firm said in an emailed statement.

A spokeswoman declined to say when the decision was made, or if the firm plans to close any other operations.

Opened in August 2007, Carlyle’s Warsaw office, comprised of 12 professionals, focused on Central and Eastern European deals and was led by Ryszard Wojtkowski, formerly a partner with Central and Eastern European private equity firm Enterprise Investors.

The seven-person Asian leveraged finance group was established in May 2007 and was led by Eric Mason, who until helping Carlyle launch the initiative had been co-head of syndicated and leveraged finance for JPMorgan in Hong Kong.

A spokeswoman said Carlyle expected most of the professionals affected by the closures to leave the firm but declined to comment further.

“The individuals affected are outstanding and this difficult decision is a reflection of the market downturn,” the firm said.

Carlyle will continue to invest in these regions, the spokeswoman said. It continues to have Asian-focused private equity funds, while its fourth European fund, closed on €5.4 billion last year, and its second European technology fund, closed earlier this month on €530 million, both have the capability to invest in Central and Eastern Europe.

“Carlyle has an extensive geographical footprint. We see that as important in the future and are committed to emerging markets,” the spokeswoman said.