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Kestrel sells portfolio company to Pfizer Animal Health

Sydney-based Kestrel Capital has sold its stake in Catapult Genetics, making a 2.5x cash return on its investment in three years.

Kestrel Capital, a private equity firm focussed on Australia and New Zealand, has sold its minority stake in Catapult Genetics, a livestock genomics company, to Pfizer Animal Health.

Kestrel Capital held an undisclosed stake in the company. The other shareholders in Catapult Genetics included co-founders Gerard Davis and Jay Hetzel; the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency; AgResearch, A New Zealand-based, state-owned scientific research agency; and Meat & Wool New Zealand, an association of livestock producers.

Catapult Genetics is engaged in the development and commercialisation of livestock DNA testing and gene markers, and its business is mainly focussed on Australia and New Zealand.

The company started as Genetic Solutions in 1999. In 2006, the merger of Genetic Solutions with Catapult Systems led to the formation of Catapult Genetics. Catapult Genetics now operates out of Brisbane and Dunedin.

Simon Uzcilas, a director at Kestrel Capital, told PEO the firm’s investment in Catapult Genetics was made in 2005 from its Nanyang Innovation Fund which it closed in 2001. The firm has invested in 12 deals from that fund, he said.

Uzcilas said that the firm made a 2.5 times cash return from this exit in a period of three years, though he declined to comment on how much Kestrel was paid for its stake.

Kestrel Capital currently manages four funds, the most recent being Kestrel Secondaries Fund I, an A$60 million ($54.2 million; €35.1 million) fund it closed in 2006. It is currently raising capital for another fund which will make purchases of direct secondary investments. The target size for this fund is A$100 million.

Kestrel Capital was formerly known as Nanyang Ventures.