In July 2007, Wyllie Group agreed to invest $50 million into the first fund raising of a newly established alternative asset fund manager Viburnum Funds Pty Ltd (Viburnum). In return for being a seed and cornerstone investor, Wyllie Group negotiated a 50% majority interest in Viburnum.
The investment focus of Viburnum’s first Fund is to invest in a variety of latter stage private equity situations, but primarily, investments in private industrial companies with a nexus to Western Australia and with an enterprise value of less than $100 million. It is envisaged that the Fund will take significant positions in a combination of growth and buy-out situations and take an active role in the strategy of the investees. The Fund will not be investing directly in companies whose primary business is in property, mining or mineral exploration but may take positions in businesses that provide services to these sectors.
Viburnum’s investments will be directed by an experienced investment committee comprising:
Marshall Allen – Managing Director, Viburnum Funds Pty Ltd
Marshall began his investment banking career in the 1991 UK recession working on UK Leveraged and Acquisition Financing for Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank – the precursor to Mizuho. During this time he worked on several steering committees of poorly structured and over geared buyouts of the 1980’s as well as some of the most successful UK buyouts of the 1990’s. During this period he developed a taste for contrarian investment philosophies which still hold to this day.
Over the following decade Marshall held director level roles with Deutsche Bank Group, Société Géneralé and derivatives boutique Credit Agricole Lazard Financial Products across Perth, Singapore and Hong Kong.
In 2004 he returned to Perth to re-establish ANZ’s Private Equity business in Western Australia overseeing numerous investments including the origination, management and exit of the MBO of Nomad Building Solutions Ltd as well as an investment in financial service provider ThinkSmart Limited; some of the group’s most successful investments.
Over a 16 year banking and investment career he has invested in, arranged or managed over USD 2 billion in investments for multi-nationals, or corporate and institutional investors spanning UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, PRC, India, Korea, Philippines and Australia.
A native of Perth, Marshall was educated at the University of Western Australia (BCom) and Cornell University (MBA).
Craig Coleman – Non Executive Director, Wyllie Group Pty Ltd
Craig is a Senior Advisor – Non Executive Director of the Wyllie Group, and former Managing Director of Home Building Society Limited. Prior to joining Home Building Society, Craig held a number of senior executive positions and directorships with ANZ including Managing Direct Banking Products, Managing Director Wealth Management and Non-Executive Director of E*Trade Australia Limited. Craig’s other current appointments include Non Executive Director of Bell Financial Group Ltd, Non Executive Director of Bell Direct Ltd and Chairman of Rubik Financial Ltd, Chairman of Viburnum Funds Pty Ltd, Non-Executive Director of Amadeus Energy Ltd and Non-Executive Director of Amcom Telecommunications Ltd.
Craig was born in Melbourne and educated at the University of Western Australia (BCom).
Melissa Karlson – Executive Director, Wyllie Group Pty Ltd
Melissa is an Executive Director of the Wyllie Group. Melissa has experience in the property industry, financial markets, and the acquisition and disposal of investments.
Melissa holds a Bachelor of Business degree from Edith Cowan University where she majored in Accounting and Finance.
Tony Howarth – Non Executive Director, Viburnum Funds Pty Ltd
Tony has spent over 35 years in the banking and finance industry including executive positions in government, regional and major banks as well as the building societies and stock broking covering London, Hamburg, New York and Australia.
Since 1991 Tony has held public company roles including Chairman of Alinta Gas Ltd (leading the Company through a privatization), Managing Director of Challenge Bank (including their acquisition by Westpac), interim CEO of broker Hartleys Ltd (overseeing the Management Buy-Out of the broking business) and Chairman of Home Building Society Ltd (during the acquisition of StateWest Credit Union and Home’s subsequent acquisition by Bank of Queensland).
Tony is currently Chairman of Mermaid Marine and St John of God Healthcare Inc and a Non Executive Director of Bank of Queensland, AWB Ltd and Wesfarmers Ltd. Tony is also involved in a number of community and business organisations including the Senate of the University of Western Australia, Chairman of the Committee for Perth Limited, a member of the Rio Tinto WA Future Fund and a director of Western Australian Community Foundation Limited, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (Inc).
This Fund will be limited to $100 million in committed capital and it is anticipated an information memorandum will be distributed to wholesale¹ and sophisticated¹ investors in late 2007.
The Fund will be a 10 year closed end investment with no liquidity arrangements.