Private equity investment company Knox Investment Partners is hoping to raise up to $150 million to invest in small mid-market companies in New Zealand and Australia.

The Auckland-based company is on its fourth fund-raising drive since it was set up by directors Bret Jackson and Tim Sumner in 2004.

Jackson said he and fellow directors had committed $25 million to Knox Investment Partners Fund IV and it had already attracted a further $55 million from previous investors and a community trust.

Jackson said he was confident of getting within the fund's target range of $100 million to $150 million.


"People are still sitting on a bit of cash. There seems to be more confidence with investing this year compared to last year."

Jackson said the fund invested A$11 million into Australian aerial mapping and survey company AAM Group and had since made a bolt-on acquisition, buying Global Geomatics, a land survey business in South Africa.

He said he expected it would take up to three years to invest the rest of the money and he hoped to invest in at least one other business this year.

"There is quite a lot out there right now. Vendors of good businesses are returning to the market."

Knox did not tend to invest in specific industries but looked at businesses valued around $20 million to $30 million that would do well under certain mega-trends. In New Zealand areas that were expected to do well were food, supply and light industrial.

The fund closes to investment on June 30 and has a minimum investment of $250,000.