US asset management firm Blackstone will take an 80 per cent equity stake in La Trobe Financial group, alongside the existing shareholder.
La Trobe said the partnership will accelerate its recent growth in Australian credit markets, which has been focused on the $1.7 trillion Australian mortgage loan market and servicing small-to-medium enterprises and business borrowers who are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain credit from the traditional bank sources.
“In particular, Blackstone’s capital support and global networks will assist La Trobe Financial continue to develop its leading position in these specialist credit market segments,” LaTrobe Financial said.
“Under the agreement, La Trobe Financial will continue to focus on growing its offerings to its loan and wealth management customers, through its $2 billion retail credit fund, its $4.6 billion mortgage loan portfolios, its institutional mandates and facilities, and its $1.1 billion regular debt capital market issuances. In partnering with Blackstone, La Trobe Financial will also look to broaden its base products and services going forward into new market segments.”
LaTrobe president and chief executive Greg O’Neil said the opportunity to partner with Blackstone was the perfect fit for our staff, business and customers.
“The specialist credit space is experiencing a defining period of change and growth around the world right now and it is critical that we continue to build on our strong capital position, expand our networks and draw on global best practice,” said Mr O’Neil.
“Blackstone is an outstanding counterparty for our business and we are delighted to partner with them. We look forward to working closely with them over the coming years to expand and substantially grow our retail and institutional investment programs and our specialist lending offerings.”
Blackstone managing director of tactical opportunities Malcolm Jackson said Blackstone is pleased to partner with La Trobe Financial at such a “pivotal moment in their growth and development”.
Under the terms of the agreement, Greg O’Neil will continue as president and chief executive, as will the existing management and executive team including Rowan Donohue as chief operating officer, Martin Barry as chief group treasurer, Chris Andrews as chief investment officer, Cory Bannister as chief lending officer, Rob Clough Chief as financial officer, and Randal Williams as chief risk officer.
La Trobe Financial will retain the existing board and appoint two additional representatives from Blackstone.