Pohutukawa Invests in Professional Hearing Services

30-11-2006

Direct Capital today announced that it has partnered with businessmen John Ryder and Howard Bretherton to invest in Professional Hearing Services (‘PHS’).

PHS is a hearing aid retail business, providing hearing tests and hearing aid fitting services. The first primary PHS clinic was opened in Hamilton in 1988 by founding audiologists Brett Robertson and John Ho. PHS established its second primary clinic in Tauranga in 1999, in partnership with audiologist Carey Wright. Three further visiting clinics have been established in Thames, Waihi and Matamata and PHS is now the leading hearing aid retail business in the Waikato / Bay of Plenty region.

Hearing loss is estimated to affect 1 in 10 people worldwide. Ageing population demographics, technology innovations and aesthetic enhancements to hearing aids are expected to continue to underpin growth in the demand for hearing aids and associated hearing aid fitting services.

John Ryder and Howard Bretherton have been appointed Executive Chairman and Director respectively of PHS. Ryder has founded and run a number of successful businesses including Ryman Healthcare, now an NZX40 company with a capitalisation of over $900m. In 2005, Ryder was also appointed Chairman of Direct Capital. Bretherton was involved in the successful development of Michael Hill Jewellers, which he joined when the business had just 2 stores, rising to Joint Managing Director until 2003. More recently, Bretherton has been a Director of apparel retailer Hallensteins Glassons. Ryder and Bretherton will lead the expansion and opening of further PHS outlets.

A Direct Capital representative will be appointed to the PHS board and Brett Robertson will represent the founding PHS audiologists.

Direct Capital will have a 47% shareholding in the company, with the investment being completed from its Direct Capital Partners III and Pohutukawa Private Equity funds. Both Ryder and Bretherton will also be significant shareholders in the business along with the founding PHS audiologists who retain an interest.

For further information:

Tony Batterton, Investment Director, Direct Capital, 9 307 2562.