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0 Ross George Recognised as Champion of Private Business Growth

The New Zealand Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (NZVCA) Leadership Tribute was awarded today (23 October) to Ross George, managing director of Direct Capital, for his outstanding leadership commitment to the New Zealand private equity industry.

The Tribute was announced at the NZVCA Annual Conference dinner in Queenstown. NZVCA Executive Director Colin McKinnon says: `Ross George is highly respected by his peers for his strength and persistence as an exemplar of professionalism and protagonist for private equity markets in New Zealand. His humility and unqualified conviction have helped shape the New Zealand industry over two decades.’

The NZVCA award recognises Ross George for his sustained leadership role as an industry champion of the private equity and venture capital industry for the benefit of investors and entrepreneurs in New Zealand. He has been in the private equity industry since 1985. He founded Direct Capital in 1994 following his return from Hong Kong, where he had been a director and shareholder of local Hong Kong based private equity firm.

Since its establishment Direct Capital has raised more than $800m and invested in 68 private companies to fund growth, acquisition and succession initiatives. Its current active funds, Direct Capital III and Direct Capital IV have invested in 19 portfolio companies that have aggregate annual revenues of $1.5 billion and employ more than 5,000 staff.

The NZVCA Leadership Tribute recognises impactful and sustainable leadership that has made a significant contribution to lifting the professional standards and enhancing the reputation of the industry.

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0 Direct Capital Wins NZVCA Deal of the Year Award

The 2014 New Zealand Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (NZVCA) Deal of the Year Award has gone to Direct Capital for its investment in Scales Corporation.

The NZVCA Deal of the Year Award recognises outstanding performance in the private equity industry and was announced at the NZVCA 2014 annual conference in Queenstown today (23 October).

NZVCA Executive Director Colin McKinnon says: `The Direct Capital investment in Scales Corporation is an example of innovation, growth, and excellent returns on investment that benefit investors, who are generally local and international superannuation and pension fund members.’ Entries were judged on return to investors and the company’s financial performance. The company’s contribution to the economy, employment, innovation, consistency and industry competitiveness was also taken into account.

Mr McKinnon adds: ‘The winner of our 2014 award is an example of the purpose and aim of private equity: to partner with companies to provide the capital to grow and create value and long-term sustainability through aligning the interests of owners and management. This ultimately delivers improved productivity, creates jobs and contributes to the national economy.’

Scales is a large, diverse and growing agribusiness group. The company is exposed to the key primary industry sectors in New Zealand across its three operating divisions: Horticulture, Storage & Logistics and Food Ingredients. Scales was founded in 1897 as a shipping business by George Herbert Scales.

Today it employs more than 450 staff New Zealand wide. In June 2011 the Direct Capital IV Fund together with co-investors NZ Super Fund and ACC and others, acquired a 79% shareholding in Scales Corporation from the Statutory Manager of South Canterbury Finance in a competitive tender process. In conjunction with its investment, Direct Capital’s Mark Hutton and Tony Batterton joined the Scales board. Jon Mayson was elected to the Board as Chairman, having previously been the CEO of the Port of Tauranga and Chairman of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise among other roles. Andy Boland, who had joined Scales in 2007 after a 20 year career in banking, became Managing Director.

Direct Capital Director Tony Batterton notes: ‘In the first three years of Direct Capital’s majority ownership, the company invested around $50m of capital in re-developing orchards to Asian preferred apple varieties, to enhance and expand various storage and manufacturing plants and to complete a number of other significant growth initiatives. Scales more than doubled profit before tax during this period and achieved a significant reduction in the level of debt enabling the company to recommence dividend distributions from 2013.’

In July 2014 Scales completed its listing on NZX, with Direct Capital selling down to a post-IPO shareholding of 20%. Scales also raised $30m of new capital in the IPO. Direct Capital retains one board directorship position.

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0 Super fund to look at climate risks

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund is backing a global investment study to better assess the risks and and opportunities associated with climate change.

The British-based, global investment consulting firm, Mercer, is analysing the investment risks and returns under various climate change scenarios, with the support of global fund managers, including the New Zealand fund.

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0 Wherescape shelves IPO plans

Data warehousing software provider Wherescape has shelved its plans to carry out a stock market listing, according to market sources.

The Auckland-based company — whose customers include Air New Zealand, Sky City Entertainment, ASB, BNZ and the Auckland District Health Board — had been planning an initial public offer (IPO) that would raise $40 million and value the business at between $70 million and $90 million, according to an Australian media report.

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0 Ex-Fonterra boss Andrew Ferrier to chair Orion Health

Former Fonterra boss Andrew Ferrier has been appointed chairman of New Zealand software developer Orion Health and is already proving himself adept at dodging questions on a possible sharemarket listing by the fast-growing firm.

The company — which is mulling a stock exchange float that would raise growth capital — also appointed Lester Levy, chairman of the Auckland and Waitamata District Health Boards, to its board as an independent director at its annual shareholders’ meeting at Auckland Hospital today.

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