The Australian Business Growth Fund (BGF) has been formally established, after all seven shareholder signed the a Shareholders Agreement.
The Australian Government has also welcomed the appointment of Mr Anthony Healy as the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the BGF. Mr Healy has strong experience in senior commercial banking with a focus on assisting SME customers to grow and succeed. This follows the appointment of the Chairman of the BGF, Will Hodgman, former Premier of Tasmania, earlier this year.
The Australian Government has committed an investment of $100 million and partnered with other financial institutions to provide equity funding to SMEs through the BGF. The major banks including ANZ, CBA, NAB, and Westpac have also each committed $100 million to the BGF. HSBC and Macquarie have also committed $20 million each in support of the BGF.
This will give the BGF an initial investment capacity of $540 million, with the ambition to grow the fund to $1 billion as it matures. The BGF will operate commercially and make investment decisions independently of Government.
Established Australian businesses will be eligible to apply for long-term equity capital investments between $5 million and $15 million, where they have generated annual revenue between $2 million and $100 million and can demonstrate three years of revenue growth and profitability, allowing for the impact of COVID-19 on recent business performance.
Following the appointment of the CEO, it is anticipated that the BGF will shortly begin engaging with SMEs that are seeking patient equity investment in their business to enable them to grow and expand.
The BGF will invest consistent with its objectives, which are to:
The BGF will invest in established SMEs with annual revenue between $2 million and $100 million, and a track record of three consecutive years of revenue growth and profitability. The BGF’s assessment of an SMEs track record will take into account uncharacteristic trends resulting from the COVID downturn.
The BGF’s investment will constitute a minority economic interest of typically between 10-40% of total, fully-diluted, share capital (on an ‘as-converted’ basis).
Each investment must be commercially viable and make a return appropriate to the underlying risk of the investment.
Over time, there must be an industry and regional spread of investments.