BLUE SKY AHEAD FOR FUND MANAGER IPO

Written on the 24 January 2012

BLUE SKY AHEAD FOR FUND MANAGER IPO

BRISBANE-BASED Blue Sky Alternative Investments (ASX: BLA) today listed on the ASX after raising $6.47 million from its pre-Christmas initial public offering.

Founder and managing director Mark Sowerby (pictured) views the listing as a good platform for the alternative investment fund manager to attract overseas investor interest.

“Most of the money raised is regulatory capital. We have strong investor base of more than 800. There is a lot of offshore interest in our water asset and hedge funds businesses, so we plan to open an office in New York,” he says.

“The US market is starting to recover and its funds management investment industry is the largest in the world. We have appointed GT Capital Access partner Debra Goundrey as global head of client relationships to work from our new US office.

“She is an Australian with great networking abilities, existing contacts in both the US and EU – and five years’ experience in client relationship management. Her former work for the Investment Management Institute and now defunct Invest Australia also makes her a great addition to the team.”

Blue Sky has also earmarked plans to raise money in Asia.

“We will start to work on Asia this year. The listing helps (advance) our discussions with potential offshore investors as they can see our progress on the ASX,” says Sowerby.

Blue Sky has a market capitalisation of $32.5 million and manages $180 million of funds, but Sowerby believes the company could manage $1 billion with just a few more staff.

The business reported $3.5 million in revenue for the 2011 financial year and expects it to jump by 300 per cent to $10.5 million during FY12.

“Performance fees are a big contributor to that growth from our earlier investments. There has been substantial growth in private real estate and private equity,” says Sowerby.

“Having a strong balance sheet and being listed gives comfort to our investors and helps accelerate that growth. A lot of IPOs are about the exit but ours is all about the (market) entry.”

Blue Sky’s shares opened at $1.02 per unit.


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