Wyllie strategy focuses on private equity

Big Western Australian family investment player Wyllie Group has joined the growing local fund management sector with the launch of plans to develop a $100 million private equity vehicle.
The group has created its own funds manager, Viburnum, recruiting former ANZ Capital Perth head Marshall Allen as investment director for new business which will start with fund focused on small-cap Western Australian-linked industrial companies.
Wyllie Group, which has a public asset base estimated to worth around $600 million, will seed the first fund with $30 million and own 50 per cent of Viburnum which will operate as a division of the St Georges Terrace-based group.
The fund manager's management will have a strong banking background, with Craig Coleman and Tony Howarth both joining Mr Allen in sharing the remaining 50 per cent equity.
Wyllie Group managing director Melissa Karlson will also sit on the board of Viburnum.
Mr Coleman said the Viburnum strategy was occupy ground the which big private equity players, by virtue of their size and funding pressure, could not consider.
"The positioning of our fund is under the mushroom cloud," Mr Coleman said.
"The overflow of money going into private equity funds is forcing those deals to go bigger in size.
"We want to avoid the fly-in operators.
"We have picked the size and the segment that is a bit of a niche."
Mr Allen said the first fund will seek funding from wholesale or professional investors but was unlikely to go to the market until the end of the year. It would cap the first fund at $100 million and look to invest between $5 million and $15 million in established companies worth $50million to $100 million.


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