Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Advocacy group: Private equity creates jobs

A national private equity advocacy group is featuring a company with N.C. ties in a new campaign to improve the industry's image.

The Private Equity Growth Capital Council's "Private Equity at Work" initiative seeks to spread the word about the industry and its contributions to the U.S. economy. A video posted on the campaign's website highlights lithium producer Rockwood Holdings Inc., which is building a new plant in Kings Mountain with the help of private equity firm KKR & Co.

The plant is part of a massive expansion that will create hundreds of jobs and position the company as the leading global provider of lithium compounds for electric and hybrid vehicles, the PEGCC said.

The Washington, D.C., advocacy group's campaign comes at a time when private equity is making headlines - most notably as opponents of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney have criticized him for his wealth and for business failures that occurred on his watch at Bain Capital.

"There is a real lack of understanding about private equity - what it does, how it works and who benefits from it," PEGCC CEO Steve Judge said. "The Rockwood Holdings case study ... shows how private equity strengthens companies, creates jobs and drives economic activity and growth."

About 360 private equity-backed companies, employing nearly 164,000 people, are headquartered in North Carolina, according to the group's data. In the last decade, the industry has invested about $47.2 billion in N.C.-based companies, it said.