As 2022 kicks off we find ourselves navigating what is now the third year of a global pandemic. Despite the uncertainties that lie ahead, we have learned a great deal from operating in this unpredictable environment and see continued opportunity for OMERS Private Equity on the heels of a phenomenal 2021. I am excited to share some highlights with you.
Our team had a strong year marked by growth across the portfolio and double-digit mid-year returns. In 2021, we had more than $5B of private equity transactions, and we completed more than $2B of tuck-unders across the portfolio – that’s about 150 acquisitions, or on average three a week – the most in our history. We are big proponents of growth through strategic tuck-under acquisitions and transformative mergers which, when executed on smartly (by our world class management teams), can generate strong value. I’m proud of how our team applied a partnership-first approach and long-term vision in support of our portfolio companies' efforts.
Given robust private markets and continued strong economic conditions, we remain cautiously optimistic that 2022 will be another high activity year for private equity and M&A as a whole. You can read more about our recent activity here.
In 2021 we also welcomed new team members to OPE, building on our global strength in our London, Toronto, New York, and Singapore offices, and adding new internal credit capabilities with the hire of a dedicated debt specialist. We’ve taken advantage of the strong credit market and refinanced $4B of debt on the best terms in the market to ensure our portfolio is prepared for growth this year.
Our people make the difference, and our new teammates have already played a vital role in our success. We are also proud of our low-ego culture, including a strong focus on mentorship which is engrained in everything we do. In 2021 our team in New York launched an inaugural summer internship program focused on bringing students from non-traditional backgrounds into private equity, which we collectively worked to make a success. It was an incredible experience, and we look forward to continuing the program this year. Learn more about the program here.
On that note, I would like to thank our partners and our management teams for the continued support in 2021 as the recovery continued, and as we completed another successful year of working together to generate steady returns on behalf of our 525,000 OMERS members.
I hope to see you all in person in the coming months. In the meantime, thanks for your ongoing feedback and interest in OMERS Private Equity.
Mike Graham, Global Head of Private Equity