Riverside Launches Asian Operating Strategy September 09, 2008
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Former Danaher President Brings 20 Years of Experience to Firm’s Portfolio
(September 9, 2008) – The Riverside Company has opened an office in Hong Kong dedicated to helping its global stable of 66 portfolio companies do more and better business in Asia and has hired an experienced operator in the region to lead the effort – Brian Bunker, a veteran of Danaher (NYSE: DHR) who recently was President of Danaher China. As a Managing Director of Riverside, Bunker will help all of Riverside’s portfolio companies source, sell and operate throughout Asia. The Hong Kong office represents Riverside’s 18th overall and third office in Asia, along with Tokyo and Seoul, where the firm’s Asian buyouts business is currently based.
“We’ve long recognized the value of having feet on the ground where we do business,” said Riverside Co-CEO Stewart Kohl. “Adding resources in Asia helps our entire portfolio source goods and services on a pan-Asian basis, as well as tap the huge market potential that China and the rest of the region’s rapidly growing economies represent. While this will boost Riverside’s pan-Asia strategy the primary objective is to contribute to the growth of our portfolio companies and thereby enhance the already superior returns generated by all of our funds.”
Bunker will work directly with the CEOs of Riverside’s 66 portfolio companies around the world to help them craft more effective Asian strategies, which include selling into, sourcing from or acquiring add-ons in Asia. He will facilitate market research, manufacturing and sourcing advice, as well as sales and distribution recommendations throughout the region. Bunker, a British citizen and UK Chartered Director, has lived in Asia for the past 20 years and is fluent in five languages, including Mandarin and Nepalese. At Danaher, Bunker provided the strategic direction and business development of 22 companies, 7,300 associates and 17 plants throughout China with revenues of $1 billion. Bunker was at the helm of several Danaher businesses in the region including the company’s dental and product identification divisions. In addition, he served as Managing Director Asia Pacific of Danaher subsidiary Gilbarco, which had $120 million in revenues and operations in China, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and India.
“Brian comes to us with a firm understanding of the operating opportunities in Asia, as well as decades of experience with the cultures and languages of the region,” said Béla Szigethy, Riverside Co-CEO. “His insight will be invaluable as we continue to build the Asia Fund and internationalize our European, North American and Asia investments.”
Riverside launched its business in Asia in April, 2007 when it opened its Tokyo office, which was followed by an office in Seoul in October, 2007. The firm has organized a fund for the purpose of acquiring companies with less than $10 million of EBITDA in Asia’s mature economies. This fund, Riverside Asia Fund I, owns Japan-based Shinsouki, which is the largest parking lot operator in Niigata City and Wiz Korea, the largest learning-oriented preschool education franchise in South Korea. Over a dozen additional investment opportunities are in Riverside Asia’s current deal pipeline.
Riverside Chief Operating Officer Pam Hendrickson believes the addition of Bunker epitomizes Riverside’s belief in sharing knowledge to help companies grow. “Brian will help our whole portfolio leverage the markets and resources throughout Asia and beyond,” said Hendrickson. “He brings a wealth of experience that’s almost custom-made to help our diverse international portfolio expand and succeed.”
The Riverside Company is the largest global private equity firm focused on the smaller end of the middle market (“SEMM”) and is one of the industry’s most experienced leveraged buyout investors. Riverside specializes in investing in premier SEMM companies (those valued up to $150 million) and partners with strong management teams to build companies through acquisitions and value-added growth. Since 1988, the firm has invested in 197 transactions with a total enterprise value of $4.4 billion. Its current portfolio in North America, Europe and Asia numbers 66, with combined annual sales of $3.2 billion, EBITDA of $517 million and more than 14,000 employees. Riverside offers the resources to complete acquisitions smoothly and in as little as 45 days - thanks to its sizeable pool of capital under management (more than $2 billion in nine funds), over 180 professionals in 18 offices (Amsterdam, Atlanta, Brussels, Budapest, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Madrid, Munich, New York, Prague, San Francisco, Seoul, Stockholm, Tokyo and Warsaw), and long-standing relationships with partner lenders. Six of nine of the firm’s mature vintages are currently top quartile, and the firm’s investors include the world’s leading pension funds, endowments, funds-of-funds, insurance companies and banks.