Azimut to acquire Australian boutique

Italian asset manager Azimut is to buy Australian equities boutique Sigma Funds Management.

The group has announced having signed a binding sale and purchase agreement to form an investment management partnership, through its fully owned Luxembourg holding company AZ International, with Sigma Funds.

AZ International will own 51% of Sigma’s capital while Sigma’s executives will retain a 49% stake.

The deal, subject to regulatory approval by local authorities, will see Azimut, through AZ International, purchase 51% of Sigma’s corporate capital through a deferred capital increase to cover for Sigma’s working capital up to a cumulative value of A$2.1m (€ 1.4m), which will be employed to finance the business plan.

The closing of the transaction is expected to occur in April 2016.

Sigma has been founded in August 2009 by an ex-Credit Suisse team of 6 founding partners and focuses on large and small cap Australian equities. It runs three strategies.

The firm had A$70m (€47m) in assets under management as at 31 March 2016.

Azimut and Sigma have agreed to leverage Sigma’s solid track record and investment know-how in order to build a long-term franchise in equity markets and widen its distribution capabilities.

Steve Giubin, director of Sigma, said: “Azimut offers Sigma the opportunity to cement its position as an Australian Equities manager. We would like to thank Pinnacle for its support as a shareholder since 2011 and look forward to our ongoing relationship across marketing and fund services.”

Ian Macoun, Pinnacle’s Managing Director commented: “the approach from Azimut was very attractive for Sigma, and we believe the complementary cultures of Azimut and Sigma provide a strong foundation to develop their joint venture locally. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Sigma in building a strong presence in the Australian institutional market.”

Azimut recorded total net inflows of €626m in March 2016, reaching € 1.7bn in the first quarter of 2016.

The Italian group’s AUM stood at €31.6bn, reaching €37.4bn when including assets under administration.

Pietro Giuliani, Azimut’s chairman and CEO, said : “March numbers confirm the proactive attitude of our networks, enabling us to reach 626 million euro of net inflows of which a good part in managed products. These figures demonstrate the incredible unity of the Group when facing challenging and volatile markets.”

“On the international front, with this agreement in Australia we bring on board new partners with significant competencies and a strong track record in managing Australian equities. We will now have the opportunity to offer our local and international clients a portfolio management team resident in Sydney and investing in Australian companies.”

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