J.P. Morgan Closes Latin America Fund –

With the exhausting efforts of raising a first-time fund now in the past, J.P. Morgan Capital Corp. closed J.P. Morgan Latin America Capital Partners at $677.3 million. The fund was launched earlier this year with a $600 million target.

J.P. Morgan has been investing its own capital and the capital of its employees in Latin America since 1990, said Tim Purcell, managing partner of Latin America Capital Partners. Seeing 60% returns on its investments and recognizing the region’s demand for capital led the firm to launch the private equity fund, he said.

The fund-raising process was no picnic, Purcell said. Even though the firm has raised private equity funds before, the Latin America fund received the expected amount of scrutiny from investors because of its first-time status in a new market.

“A lot of investors did the right thing and performed thorough due diligence on us before making their commitments,” Purcell said. “But that’s standard procedure for first-time funds, and there was some added complexity because in some cases the investors were not all that familiar with Latin America.”

Limited partners in the fund include U.S. and European pension funds, insurance and asset management companies, as well as a handful of individual investors that are clients of J.P. Morgan. G.E. Investments takes the spot of lead investor in the fund.

J.P. Morgan has already made several investments out of the Latin America fund these include deals that were warehoused by the bank itself then transferred into the new fund after the closing. Although Purcell declined to provide specifics about the transactions, he said they consist of early-stage Internet and technology company investments, as well as a later-stage commitment to a meat-processing company and financial portal business.

In fact, the fund is on track to have approximately 25% to 30% of its capital invested by the end of the year, Purcell said. -L.G.