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MFS to Buy Investment Specialists Northplan

December 11, 2006


MFS to Buy Investment Specialists Northplan


Investment and financial services group MFS Limited (ASX: MFS) today announced it had contracted to acquire Northplan, one of New Zealand’s largest financial advisory firms for NZ$52.5million.

Northplan provides professional and independent investment, estate planning and financial advice to more than 3,400 New Zealand clients. Operating out of nine offices in the North Island of New Zealand, Northplan’s clients are typically high net worth individuals who have sold a property, farm or business, received an inheritance or are high income earners.

Northplan directly has funds under management and under advice of circa NZ$670million. The company also provides back office and portfolio services to a number of financial advisory groups across New Zealand. Northplan holds strategic stakes in these advisory groups, which have a combined funds under management and under advice of more than NZ$330million, and advise in excess of 1500 clients.

Consideration for the acquisition will comprise circa NZ$42.5million in cash, with the balance to be satisfied through the issue of MFS Limited shares to some of the vendors, including key management shareholders and Northplan founder Kelvin Syms.

The acquisition follows MFS’ announcement in June 2006 that it had agreed to sell 60 per cent of its New Zealand operations to a group of financial investors in both Australia and New Zealand, including a subsidiary of the Babcock & Brown Group.

At that time MFS indicated an intention to grow MFS New Zealand so as to become a substantial player in the New Zealand financial services sector, including businesses operating in the funds management, financial planning, investment banking and property structured finance sectors.

MFS New Zealand Chief Executive, Jason Maywald, confirmed that Northplan would ultimately be merged with MFS’ existing New Zealand businesses, which have been operating in New Zealand since 2003. Mr Maywald said the acquisition of Northplan was a significant step in MFS’ expansion plans in New Zealand and was the first in a series of transactions that would see MFS become an influential force in New Zealand financial services.

“We are very excited by this opportunity which will not only allow for the enhancement and acceleration of Northplan’s own expansion plans,” said Mr Maywald, “but will also provide MFS with the platform for the creation of a significant New Zealand financial services provider.”

Northplan was established in 1989 by Kelvin Syms and under his direction it has grown to become one of New Zealand’s largest and most successful financial advisory firms. Mr Syms will remain actively involved in the business and will be appointed as the Managing Director of MFS New Zealand. Members of Northplan’s highly regarded executive team will also be appointed to new roles within MFS New Zealand.

“We recognised there was an opportunity to significantly expand the Northplan business,” said Mr Syms, “and to be able to do so with the support of MFS will provide our clients and staff with enormous benefits, whilst still retaining our ability to offer our clients the high levels of good old-fashioned service they expect from us.”

Completion of the acquisition is planned to occur by 31 January 2007.

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About MFS
MFS Limited is a diversified financial services and investment company and is listed in the top 200 companies on the _Australian stock exchange. It has interests in funds management, investment, structured finance, and tourism. MFS has approximately $A3.9billion ($NZ4.5billion) worth of assets under management. For more information see www.mfslimited.com.au

About MFS New Zealand
MFS Limited owns 40% of the shares in MFS New Zealand, and maintains management control of that business. MFS New Zealand has circa $420 million of assets under management. MFS New Zealand is made up of a number of specialty investment businesses, the most significant being MFS Pacific Finance Limited. For more information see www.mfspacific.co.nz.

About Northplan
Northplan is one of New Zealand’s premier independent financial advisory groups with more than $670million of client funds under management and under advice. A one stop investment shop committed to professional, unbiased investment advice and offering access to the best financial products and product providers in New Zealand and internationally.


ENDS

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