16/01/2008 - 22:00

Private equity firms open up market

16/01/2008 - 22:00

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After a 20-year career with Ernst & Young, Lui Giuliani has left the accounting group to establish a private equity firm with ex- KordaMentha executive Oren Zohar, Monadelphous chairman John Rubino, ex-Water Corporation chairman Tim Ungar and the director

Private equity firms open up market

After a 20-year career with Ernst & Young, Lui Giuliani has left the accounting group to establish a private equity firm with ex- KordaMentha executive Oren Zohar, Monadelphous chairman John Rubino, ex-Water Corporation chairman Tim Ungar and the directors of property syndicator Primewest Management Ltd John Bond, David Schwartz and Jim Litis .

Called Primewest Capital, the new firm comes hot on the heels of Newstream Group, an investment and private equity group formed by NRW Holdings Ltd founder Jeff McGlinn, former Deacons partner Derek La Ferla, Grant Thornton’s Graeme Sampson, businessman Craig Lindsay-Rae and Todd Strathdee .

Mr Strathdee is the former head of ANZ Private Equity who has moved to WA to take a position within Newstream .

Newstream plans to invest in excess of $500 million in the next three to four years .

Mr La Ferla said Newstream planned to investigate more than 150 businesses a year and invest in between five to ten per year across Australia .

It has already made its first investment, taking a $10 million stake in an unnamed waste recycling business based on the east coast .

Mr McGlinn is the major backer of Newstream with a 70 per cent stake .

Primewest Capital’s major backers are Mr Giuliani and Mr Zohar, who own 50 per cent of the firm .

The remaining 50 per cent is split between Mr Rubino and the Primewest Management directors .

Mr Giuliani said Primewest Capital’s focus was to invest in WA businesses that would more than likely be outside of the mining sector .

“At the moment in WA, businesses tend to be mining, oil and gas and other .

We will look at the other category,” he said Mr Giuliani managed Ernst & Young’s entrepreneurial markets division, which was later rebadged strategic growth markets .

“I have seen a lot of successful, private businesses operating in Bayswater, Malaga and so on .

There are so many of them in this state.” Mr Giuliani said he felt the time was right to establish a private equity firm in Perth because he anticipated many “baby boomers” that had established and developed businesses would be looking to exit .

Others, he said, would be considering alternative growth options with a volatile share market potentially making initial public offerings more difficult .

Mr Giuliani added that he and Mr Zohar, who take on executive roles at Primewest Capital, had also decided to establish the firm because there were very few private equity firms operating out of WA .

Most deals have been done by big east coast groups such as AMP Capital Investors and Quadrant Private Equity, although the Wyllie-backed Viburnum Funds was established in Perth last year with the aim to develop a $100 million private equity vehicle .

Newstream intends to appoint an executive director to manage its east coast operations in the next few months .

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