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Australian Private Equity Firm Acquires New Zealand’s Hirepool

The private equity arm of Goldman Sachs JB Were last week abandoned plans for an initial public offering of New Zealand equipment rental leader Hirepool and sold the company to an Australian private equity firm for about U.S. $105 million, according to New Zealand press reports.

Next Capital, has agreed to acquire Goldman’s 51 percent stake in Hirepool, as well as 24.5 percent of the company held by Mainfreight. Tenby Powell, Hirepool managing director, who held a 24.5 percent share of the company with his wife Sharon Hunter under the auspices of Hunter Powell Investments, will remain active in the business and keep a 20 percent share of the company.

Mainfreight officials confirmed it is selling its share in Hirepool because equipment rental is not a core business, however denied that a deal has been finalized. Powell acquired Hirepool three years ago and has since grown the company’s branch network from 18 to 52 locations, and has doubled revenue and profits. Annual profits are about U.S. $13 million.

Powell added that Next Capital will invest even more aggressively in Hirepool and said he still hopes to go public within three to four years.
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