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March 04, 2009 - Castle Harlan's Australian Affiliate Acquires Financial Advisory Firm

Castle Harlan, Inc., the New York private equity investment firm, announced today that CHAMP Private Equity, its Australian affiliate, has invested A$80 million in Centric Wealth, the leading high-end financial advisor in Australia, and acquired a 75 percent stake in the firm.

 

Centric, based in Sydney, has approximately A$5 billion in assets under management for clients in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra.  Among the firm’s offerings are financial planning, risk insurance, corporate benefit, lending, accounting, business advisory and family office services.

 

David Jones, CHAMP managing director, hailed the transaction and said Centric Wealth “is a resilient business with strong growth prospects.”

 

“While the sector may be at a difficult point in the economic cycle,” Jones said, “CHAMP believes the longer term dynamics of the financial planning industry are very attractive.

 

“The business is well positioned in current markets, and we expect continued performance underpinned by diversified earnings, strong client retention, recurring income streams and low leverage in client portfolios.

 

“We look forward to working with management to ensure the future success of the business.”

CHAMP Private Equity was formed in 2000 as Castle Harlan Australian Mezzanine Partners by the founders of CHAMP’s Australian predecessor and Castle Harlan.  CHAMP Private Equity and its predecessor have made more than 60 investments since 1987 in companies operating in Australia and New Zealand.

 

The combined worldwide funds under the management of CHAMP Private Equity and Castle Harlan exceed A$5 billion.  CHAMP Private Equity and its predecessor funds have recorded an annual return on funds invested of approximately 30 percent since 1987.  CHAMP Funds have acquired and successfully exited from investments in a variety of sectors, including Austar United Communications, the satellite TV broadcaster for most of Australia; Bradken Limited, Australia’s largest foundry for large metal castings, and Penrice Limited, the only producer of soda ash in Australia.

 

Current CHAMP portfolio companies include International Energy Services, Manassen Foods, Healthcare Australia, Study Group International, United Malt Holdings and Blue Star Print Group Limited.

 

Castle Harlan, founded in 1987, invests in controlling interests in the buyout and development of middle-market companies in North America, Europe and, together with CHAMP, in Australasia.  It has completed 49 acquisitions since its inception with a total value in excess of $9 billion.

 

Castle Harlan’s current portfolio companies, which employ more than 42,000 people, include Ames True Temper, a leading manufacturer of lawn and garden tools and accessories; Baker & Taylor, the leading global distributor of books and entertainment products to libraries and retailers, and Anchor Drilling Fluids USA, Inc., the nation’s largest independent provider of drilling fluids and fluid-handling services for onshore oil and gas drilling.