1st November, 2006

Ironbridge raises A$1.05 billion MBO fund

Ironbridge today announced it has successfully completed a A$1.05 billion fund raising from Australian and international institutional investors.

Founded in 2003 by Neil Broekhuizen, Paul Evans, Julian Knights and Greg Ruddock, Ironbridge has established itself as one of the most active private equity groups in the Australasian marketplace. Over the past two and a half years, Ironbridge has invested in eight transactions with a combined enterprise value in excess of A$2 billion, across a range of sectors, primarily focused on fast growth service industries.

The investment in Affinity Health (which was awarded the AVCAL 2005 MBO of the Year award) generated a return of 3x capital invested and an IRR of 220%. Ironbridge was the first Australian private equity manager to complete a public-to-private transaction for a NASDAQ-listed company, with the $110 million acquisition of Barbeques Galore in late 2005.

Ironbridge Fund II will continue the group's successful investment strategy of targeting investments in sectors which demonstrate attractive growth potential. The Fund is supported by over 40 institutional investors, with approximately one-third of the capital from Australian and two-thirds from International investors. Investor confidence has been demonstrated by the high level of commitments from Fund I investors to Fund II, with many substantially increasing their level of commitment.

International investors in Ironbridge Fund II are drawn from Asia, North America and Europe, many of whom are first-time investors in the Australasian private equity market. Australian investors include clients of Wilshire Private Markets group, Industry Funds Management, Macquarie Funds Management and its clients and a number of major Australian Superannuation Funds including: UniSuper, Telstra Super, ARIA and Australia Super. International investors include GIC Special Investments, CalPERS, AlpInvest, Partners Group,Gartmore and LGT Capital Partners.

Significantly, Ironbridge is the first Australian private equity manager to secure broad investor support from Japan, with four prestigious Japanese institutions investing in Fund II.

Managing Partner of Ironbridge, Julian Knights, said: "We are delighted to again be representing in Australasia some of the most significant institutional investors in private equity.

"The strength of commitment from existing investors and the support of more than 20 new international investors is a vote of confidence in our ability to continue to generate strong returns - something we are absolutely committed to. It also indicates the deepening of the Australian private equity market and its maturing profile as a dynamic asset class.

"Private equity is coming of age in Australia with good prospects for value enhancement to continue to deliver attractive returns for our clients."

Ironbridge Fund II will typically target transactions in the A$150 - $750 million range. Julian Knights said that where appropriate opportunities arose, the group has the capacity to target much larger transactions, drawing on the strength and underlying support of its investor base.

Fund II will focus on transactions ranging from buyouts of divisions of large conglomerates to family-owned businesses to public-to-private transactions.

Ironbridge has established a strong track-record in identifying potential transactions from proprietary research, rather than relying on high-profile auction-style opportunities. Julian Knights said this would continue to be an important part of the group's strategy.

"Businesses with strong organic and acquisitive growth profiles will continue to be the focus. If appropriate opportunities arise, public-to-private transactions will be pursued, provided long term value can be clearly identified given the relative complexity and execution risk of these types of transactions."

Justin Kirkwood
+61 2 9231 5600
+61 411 251 324

Ironbridge is a leading independent Australian private equity manager, managing funds in excess of A$1.5 billion on behalf of Australian and international institutional investors. Ironbridge is focused on investments in medium to large sized management buyout and expansion capital transactions in Australasia.


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