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Jim Bernhard, Chief Executive Officer of Bernhard Capital Partners, talks in his office in downtown Baton Rouge,Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. Bernhard stepped down as CEO of The Shaw Group in the wake of that company’s 2013 acquisition by CB&I. After that, Bernhard, Jeff Jenkins and a handful of other top executives from The Shaw Group founded BCP, a private equity firm that promised to invest in companies that operate in the energy services industry.

Bernhard Capital Partners, the Baton Rouge private equity firm founded by former Shaw Group executives, said Wednesday it closed its second fund, exceeding its $1 billion target. 

The firm closed its BCP Fund II LP at $1.2 billion, after raising the money from a "diverse group of public and private institutional investors." 

Jim Bernhard, founder of the Shaw Group, and former Shaw executive Jeff Jenkins founded Bernhard Capital Partners in 2013 after selling the Shaw Group to CB&I for $3 billion. The Fortune 500 Shaw Group was also based in Baton Rouge. 

Bernhard Capital focuses on buying companies in the industrial, energy and infrastructure services sectors. Its investors include some major pension funds and other institutional investors. The group touts experience from several former Shaw Group executives that run the firm and its portfolio companies, which include Epic Piping and Brown & Root. 

The firm and its portfolio companies have made 28 investments and employ 18,000 people, according to a news release.

"We are extremely pleased to have closed our second services fund above our original $1 billion target and appreciate the ongoing support from our returning limited partners and the confidence of our new investors," Bernhard said in a statement. 

Jenkins said the company sees a "significant number of attractive investment opportunities" in the industrial services market. The company closed its first fund at more than $750 million in 2016.

Bernhard, a former Democratic party official in Louisiana, has ventured into the public policy arena in recent months, saying his company would help finance a new Mississippi River Bridge. State officials have questioned the feasibility of that proposal. He was also involved in campaigning for a tax increase in Baton Rouge to fund road and infrastructure upgrades. 


Follow Sam Karlin on Twitter, @samkarlin.