February 14, 2018 / 2:44 PM / 5 months ago

Armonia-controlled GSA looking at growth abroad, Babcock's Italy assets - Armonia CEO

MILAN, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Security services group Gruppo Servizi Associati (GSA) wants to grow in Spain, France and Switzerland and is also looking at the Italian assets of Babcock International, the head of the private equity fund controlling the company said.

"GSA's plans include growth abroad, especially Spain, France and Switzerland, while in Italy the company is looking at the Italian arm of Babcock International," Alessandro Grimaldi, chief executive of fund Armonia, told Reuters.

GSA, which specialises in fire safety equipment, among others, is 68.5-percent controlled by Armonia since January.

The private equity fund was founded in 2016 and bought a majority stake in fashion brand Aspesi at the end of that same year. It is set to sign off on its third investment by the end of March, Grimaldi said.

Armonia's fundraising is expected to grow to 300 million euros by the middle of July, he added, falling short of its initial goal of raising 700 million euros by the end of 2016.

Grimaldi said Italy's banking crisis and the tendency to invest in government bonds rather than the real economy has forced the fund to downsize its ambitions.

Reporting by Massimo Gaia, writing by Agnieszka Flak

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