Advent International has become one of the first international private-equity groups to set up an office in Ukraine, despite an uncertain outlook for businesses operating in the country ahead of snap elections this month, according to the article by James Mawson, The Wall Street Journal, New York.

Advent, which primarily invests in midmarket-sized buyouts world-wide, has made two appointments to its new Kiev office.

Tamas Nagy, formerly a deal maker for the firm in Hungary, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, has been named head of Advent`s Kiev team.

Natalie Polischuk, who most recently worked at Delta Private Equity Partners in Moscow for four years, also joins as a principal. Before Delta, Ms. Polischuk worked at the Ukraine-and Moldova-focused Western NIS Enterprise Fund, managed by Horizon Capital, which has a Kiev office.

The appointments come as the buyout firm completes the reorganization of its Central and Eastern European business.

In addition to its Kiev office and recently opened office in Romania, Advent`s Central European network comprises regional centers in Prague, covering investment in the Czech and Slovak Republics and Hungary; in Warsaw, covering Poland and the Baltic States; and in Bucharest, covering Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.

Advent has 13 deal makers in these offices following the Kiev appointments. There also are 11 private-equity fund managers at TurkVen, Advent`s Turkish investment partner.

TurkVen, which invests in the region from an emerging-markets fund, was unavailable to comment on expectations it is set to raise a new fund of between $500 million and $1 billion in size.

Henry Potter, a banker at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development responsible for its investment in Central and Eastern European private-equity funds including Advent, said: "Advent is the first of the larger Central and Eastern European firms to take the Ukraine seriously enough to open an office and so it is a noteworthy event. But it will be interesting to see if Advent can find deal flow in its target size range."

Advent typically invests about $50 million of equity for an emerging-markets buyout.

Other private-equity investors working in the region include SigmaBleyzer, which closed a $250 million regional fund in February, Euroventures Ukraine and Western NIS Enterprise Fund. However, these firms tend to strike smaller deals than Advent.

Ukraine`s economy grew 7.9% during the first half, according to preliminary gross-domestic-product figures, while industrial production rose 11.8% from a year earlier, according to Swiss fund managers Fabien Pictet & Partners, which manages the listed Ukraine Opportunities private-equity trust.

This performance boosted Ukraine`s equities index, the PFTS, which doubled in the first half to make it the best performer world-wide.

However, further growth is dependent on the country`s political future. Snap elections at the end of this month may involve a re-run of the 2004 presidential vote, in which a pro-Russian party led by Viktor Yanukovich lost to pro-Western faction headed by Viktor Yushchenko after a revote of the runoff between the two candidates.

This news was monitored by the Action Ukraine Monitoring Service for the Action Ukraine Report (AUR), Morgan Williams, SigmaBleyzer, Editor.