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ING launches unique private equity opportunity

11 October 2004

ING launches unique private equity opportunity

New listing provides smaller investors access to diversified portfolio of private equity funds

Leading Australian investment manager ING Investment Management (INGIM) has announced the New Zealand launch of Australia’s first listed private equity fund of funds. The company provides smaller investors with the opportunity to access the growth potential of Australia’s private equity market.

Launched in Australia last week, ING Private Equity Access Limited (ING PEAL) intends to list on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and aims to raise up to AU$120 million from Australian and New Zealand investors. The offer is expected to close on 5 November 2004.

ING PEAL will invest across a diversified range of established Australian private equity managers and will also consider New Zealand private equity funds. The long-term allocation will be approximately 90 per cent private equity and 10 per cent Australian listed securities and cash. Mr Grant Bailey, Chief Executive Officer of INGIM and an Executive Director of ING PEAL, said the offer should suit long-term investors looking for superior performance above traditional assets such as listed equities, as well as those wanting to diversify the risk of their overall portfolio. As a listed company, ING PEAL will also enable investors to control their level of exposure, and to access their equity at any time.

ING (NZ) Limited will assist its Australian counterpart by distributing and promoting the new listing in New Zealand. Managing Director Paul Fyfe believes the listing is an ideal vehicle for New Zealand investors who wish to take a position in Australia’s private equity sector.

“This is a unique opportunity for New Zealanders to get in at the ground floor with some of Australia and New Zealand’s most exciting unlisted companies – companies that have the potential to become the household names of the future,” Mr Fyfe said.

The Company’s investment strategy will be spearheaded by ING PEAL Managing Director, Mr Jon Schahinger, INGIM’s head of private equity operations, who is well-versed in Australia’s unlisted arena.

Mr Schahinger said the past year had seen the Australian private equity market “come of age”, and that there continued to be great opportunities for investors.

“Australia has had the best-performing private equity market in the world over the past few years, which serves to validate the notion that the sector has finally come of age,” he said.

Previous examples of New Zealand companies INGIM has invested in through private equity managers include Pumpkin Patch and Frucor.

Mr Schahinger said the innovative structure of the offer had been designed in close consultation with the broker and planner community, in an effort to overcome some of the deficiencies of earlier private equity vehicles.

Under the offer, investors can purchase Stapled Securities at AU$2.00 per security. Each security consists of two shares and one option to subscribe for a share at an exercise price of $1.00. On 31 October 2005, the Stapled Securities will ‘unstaple’ and trade separately on the ASX as Shares and Options. An Option holder may exercise an Option at any time during the two years between 1 November 2005 and 31 October 2007.

Mr Schahinger said the stapled approach would embed the value of the option with the shares and aims to support short-term price fluctuations. This should help ensure the price of ING PEAL securities remains above NTA from the day of listing (scheduled for late November), creating an added incentive to reward float investors.

The offer opens to New Zealand investors on 11 October, with a minimum investment amount of NZ$2,500. A New Zealand Investment Statement and Australian Prospectus are available from ING (NZ) Limited.

More information on the offer can be found at: www.ingnz.com.

ENDS

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