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MFS buys Swains advisory business

Investment and financial services group MFS, which owns Vestar, has moved to full ownership of South Island firm Swain Investment Services for an undisclosed amount.

Friday, March 30th 2007, 6:51AM

by Philip Macalister

MFS bought Northplan for $52 million last year and renamed it Vestar this month.

Northplan already owned 25% of Swains prior to the buyout.

MFS New Zealand chief executive Jason Maywald would not disclose the price paid for Swains other than to say “it was not as much as we paid for Northplan.”

However he did say that the price was calculated on the same basis as that used to buy Northplan.

Swains provides investment, estate planning and financial advice to 1,500 clients and has $230 million in funds under management. It has offices in Invercargill, Christchurch and Queenstown. Swains’ clients are typically high net worth individuals who have sold a property, farm or business, received an inheritance or are high income earners.

Swains was established in 1998 by Ken Swain and John Price.

Both Swain and Price will remain actively involved in the MFS New Zealand business, and together will oversee the South Island operations of Vestar.

These acquisitions (Northplan and Swains) have been made by MFS New Zealand’s ASX-listed parent company MFS. Currently Northplan is tagged in its latest accounts as an asset earmarked for sale.

Maywald says this is because MFS New Zealand will buy them at some stage.

When the Northplan deal was done “it simply did not have the available funds” to pay for the advisory firm.

He says there is likely to be some sort of capital raising where the proceeds will be used by MFS New Zealand to acquire the assets.

While no decisions have been made it could included the issue of debt securities, issue of script.

Currently Maywald is building the infrastructure so the New Zealand business can be a standalone one from Australia.

He hopes to have that completed by June 30.

However, MFS New Zealand is still looking for advisory and fund management firms to buy in New Zealand.

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