Private Markets - Milford Asset

Private Markets

Milford Asset Management has always been intensely interested in private markets because of their potential to deliver strong long-term returns for clients.
Milford employs an active management approach in Private Markets investments, partnering with strong founders and executive teams to target attractive risk-adjusted returns with a long-term investment horizon.
Milford’s Private Markets track record include numerous investments made within the Milford Active Growth Fund since 2011, which have contributed positively to Fund performance over that time. In 2016, Milford launched the dedicated Private Markets fund, Milford Private Equity Fund II (MPEII) with a total of NZ$150m of capital commitments from Limited Partners and the Milford Active Growth Fund. Following the success of MPEII, Milford launched Milford Private Equity Fund III (MPEIII) in 2021, which was oversubscribed and capped at a hard close of NZ$192.5m of investor commitments.
MPEII and MPEIII employ a total-return focus with active portfolio management, and target private companies with significant growth potential. The Funds may also invest in turnaround opportunities and provide an attractive succession route for founders.
Milford believes there are significant opportunities available for Private Markets to deliver strong returns for investors over time. We note however that these products are only suitable for wholesale or eligible investors with a higher risk appetite who are willing to forgo liquidity in the quest for potentially higher returns.
Please note that the Milford Private Equity Fund II and Fund III are closed to new investment.

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Private Markets Team

Martin Cox

Head of Private Markets
Investment Director

Brooke Bone

Investment Director

John Johnston

Investment Director

Tom Monti

Investment Manager

Laura Manson

Investment Manager

Mihnea Enache

Investment Analyst

Private Markets Investment Committee

The Private Equity Investment Committee is comprised of:
Collectively, they have over 100 years of investment knowledge between them. Over half this experience has been focussed on Investing in New Zealand private and public markets, with the remainder gained in offshore markets.

Current Investments

Equipment Leasing & Finance (EL&F)

EL&F provides asset management and finance of vehicles and capital equipment to New Zealand industry.
The group trades under the brands AB Equipment (materials handling, forestry and construction equipment sales and service), Speirs Finance (asset financing) and Yoogo (vehicle and equipment leasing).

The New Shoots Group

The New Shoots Group comprises a portfolio of managed and owned childcare centres with a vision to providing the best learning and care outcomes for children, parents and teachers.
The Group also owns and operates Curiate, a distributor of early childhood resources to centres in New Zealand.

Smart Environmental

Smart Environmental is New Zealand’s largest privately-owned leader in waste, recycling and resource recovery solutions.
Smart Environmental has operated in New Zealand for over 25 years, with a commitment to diverting waste from landfill.

45 South

45 South is the largest grower and exporter of cherries in New Zealand, based in the town of Cromwell in Central Otago.
45 South owns and operates the area’s largest cherry packhouse, with state-of-the-art processing machinery; and provides orchard management, harvest, packing and exporting services both to its own orchards and to third party owned cherry orchards.

Cluey Learning

Cluey Learning is a provider of high quality online-enabled tutoring services to primary and secondary school children in Australia.
Since July 2018, Cluey has improved educational outcomes for thousands of students through its user-friendly and educationally comprehensive platform that allows bespoke tutoring sessions to be conducted from the convenience of a student’s own home.
As of December 2020, Cluey is now publicly listed on the ASX. Milford Private Equity Fund II retains a minority stake in Cluey following the IPO.

Comvita

Comvita is the largest exporter of Manuka honey and bee products from New Zealand. The business has substantial supply operations throughout New Zealand and distribution channels worldwide.
Comvita is considered the ‘premium’ supplier of Manuka honey in China and Rest of Asia, in particular, and commands a substantial price premium over other brands.

Academy Xi

Academy Xi is a provider of very high quality, contemporary training programs in the key digital skills areas that are relevant to modern businesses. Academy Xi offers both early career and mid-career intensive training courses in digital marketing, software engineering, data science, user experience, and customer experience (amongst others).
These capabilities have become crucial in many businesses as economies digitise rapidly, and businesses are finding it extremely difficult to find suitably skilled talent.

Southern Honeycrisp New Zealand

Southern Honeycrisp New Zealand (formerly MA Orchards) comprises five mature organic apple orchards in the Timaru region, planted with the premium Honeycrisp varietal. Honeycrisp is a well-established and highly popular apple variety in the USA, occupying a premium price point over the other varieties due to its desirable eating characteristics. The organic status of the orchards further increases this premium.
New Zealand is uniquely placed to supply the large USA market in its offseason, with basically no major ‘fresh’ competition. Milford has partnered with New Zealand’s leading organic horticulturalist, John Bostock, to oversee the operation and undertake the USA marketing of the fruit.

Real NZ

Real Group (branded Real NZ) is a leading tourism and experience operator in New Zealand.
Founded in Fiordland in the 1950’s by tourism and conservation pioneers Les and Olive Hutchins, the business offers tourism experiences from Stewart Island to Queenstown. These include the TSS Earnslaw steamship and Walter Peak High Country Farm, cruises on Milford and Doubtful Sound, the Te Anau Glow-worm Caves and the Rakiura Stewart Island Ferry and cruises. Real NZ also owns and operates the Cardrona Alpine Resort and Treble Cone ski fields near Wanaka.

Realised Investments

Other Private Investments (prior to MPEII)

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Martin Cox
Investment Director​

Martin is the Head of Private Markets and is an Investment Director for Milford Private Equity Fund III.

Martin is an experienced investment and strategy professional with a background that includes prior roles as Investment Director with HRL Morrison & Co, as a Consultant with McKinsey & Company, time spent at Spark and in a range of consulting and advisory roles. Martin completed his Bachelor and Masters in Commerce (Hons) at the University of Auckland, and earned his MBA (Dean’s List) from INSEAD in France, while he was a recipient of the NZ Prime Minister’s Scholarship in Business.

Brooke Bone
Investment Director​

Brooke is an Investment Director for Milford’s Funds and co-manages the Milford Private Equity Fund II and III. He is currently a director of a number of companies on behalf of the Milford Active Growth Fund. Brooke joined Milford in 2012 from Macquarie Securities in New Zealand where he was a Senior Research Analyst covering a variety of sectors including manufacturing, agriculture, mining and oil and gas. Prior to that, Brooke was a Vice President at Morgan Stanley in London, covering Pan-European retail companies. Brooke also worked for the corporate finance and property team of Marks and Spencer in the UK. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young and is a CFA Charterholder.

John Johnston
Investment Director​

John is an Investment Director for Milford’s Funds and co-manages the Milford Private Equity Fund II and III. Prior to joining Milford in 2016, John spent four years at Fletcher Building, latterly managing the Firth Masonry, Dricon, and CSP Pacific businesses operating in the concrete and roading technology sectors. This followed stints in strategy and corporate finance at Fletcher Building and prior to that Air New Zealand. The first decade of John’s experience was in principal equity investment and investment banking for Societe Generale and Macquarie Bank (in Sydney and London) working across a range of industry sectors. John holds an LLB (Hons), BA and BCom from the University of Otago and an MBA from Oxford University. and III

Tom Monti
Investment Manager

Tom is an Investment Manager in the Milford Private Markets team. He is responsible for origination and assessment of opportunities, valuations, executing transactions and supporting the management teams of investee companies.

Prior to this, Tom worked as an investment banker at UBS in Auckland, where he was involved in a number of significant capital markets and private transactions.

Tom holds a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Economics and Finance (with First Class Honours) from the University of Canterbury.

Laura Manson
Investment Manager

Laura is an Investment Manager in the Milford Private Markets team. She is responsible for sourcing and conducting diligence on new investment opportunities, whilst also working with portfolio companies to unlock latent value. Laura joins us from Fletcher Building where she worked as Strategy Manager on new venture opportunities for the group, and previously spent several years in investment banking at Jarden and in corporate finance at PwC. Laura brings a valuable combination of transaction and operational experience to the team. Laura completed her Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Otago, and is also a CFA® charterholder.

Mihnea Enache
Investment Analyst

Mihnea is an Investment Analyst in the Private Markets team. Mihnea provides critical analytical support on the evaluation of new opportunities, the sourcing of new targets, and ensuring internal processes run smoothly. Mihnea’s prior experience includes UBS investment banking. Mihnea completed his Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) in Finance and Economics at the University of Auckland.

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