Horizon backs Ukrainian grocery chain

The Ukrainian private equity firm will invest $15m in Fresh, a growing supermarket chain, from its $132m Emerging Europe growth fund. Its second Emerging Europe growth capital fund is targeting $300m.

Horizon Capital will add Ukrainian supermarket chain Fresh to its retail portfolio, having agreed to invest $15 million in parent company Evrotek.

Made alongside the International Finance Corporation, which in August agreed to invest up to $20 million, Horizon’s investment will help the company expand its eight stores to a chain of 58 stores and 3 logistics centers by 2010.

“This investment is an excellent opportunity not only to back an entrepreneur with a solid track record of success, but also to invest in one of the most interesting and fast growing sectors in Ukraine,” Mark Iwashko, Horizon co-managing partner, said in a statement. “Ukraine has consistently been ranked at the top of the AT Kearney Global Retail Development Index due to the size and potential of the market and the low level of modern retail penetration.”

Horizon will make its investment from its first Emerging Europe Growth Fund, which closed on $132 million in 2006, and backs growth-stage companies in Ukraine and Moldova. Roughly 40 percent of the fund’s portfolio is comprised of retail or consumer companies, while other industries it has targeted include financial services.

The firm is currently raising Emerging Europe Growth Fund II, which is targeting $300 million and held a first close on $122 million in February.