CHAMP Ventures raises A$300m

The expansion capital and mid-size buyout arm of CHAMP in Australia has closed its sixth fund on A$300 million.

Australia’s CHAMP Ventures has raised A$300 million (US$ 229 million; €181 million) for its sixth fund, CHAMP Ventures Investment Trust No. 6 (CVIT 6). This follows a larger buyout fund CHAMP Private Equity CHAMP II, which closed last year on A$950 million.

Its mandate is to target expansion and buyouts of enterprises valued at A$50 million to A$100 million. In contrast to the larger CHAMP II fund, which seeks controlling stakes only, CHAMP Ventures 6 looks to make minority interest expansion and control or buyout investments.

“The overall fundraising process took eight weeks to complete,” Andrew Savage, director of CHAMP Ventures, said in an interview. Investors’ familiarity with CHAMP Ventures’ fund terms and structure, deal strategy and investment focus made the fundraising exercise “gratifyingly quick” for the Sydney-based group, which initially expected to spend six to 12 months raising the capital.

CHAMP Ventures personnel and affiliates committed A$8.5 million to the new entity.  The bulk of the A$300 million pool came from 22 institutional LPs, only six of which were new to the fund. In terms of the size of the fund, the capital raised represents a leap from $165 million raised for CVIT 5 in 2003.

CHAMP Ventures is a member of Castle Harlan Australian Mezzanine Partners (CHAMP) Group, which was formed in 2000 as a joint venture between Australian Mezzanine Investment (AMIL) and US mid-market buyout specialist Castle Harlan in New York, which was founded in 1987. AMIL’s history dates back to the same year, when it closed what Savage described as one of Australia’s “pioneering private equity funds” with a capitalisation of A$30m.

CHAMP Ventures’ track record from previous funds stands at an average IRR of 30 percent, Savage said. Prior to closing Fund 6, CHAMP Ventures had made 49 investments from five funds with a total capitalisation of roughly A$400 million, he said. The first four funds operated under the AMIL banner.

CVIT 5 has thus far completed eight investments. According to Savage, the firm is hoping to shortly add to the portfolio a minority stake in a Singapore-based distributor of industrial products with large exposure to Australia and New Zealand, in addition to Southeast Asia.