MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwired - September 20, 2013) -  Harbert Australian Private Equity Fund I, L.P. ("HAPE") has received an award for Best Expansion Investment from the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association for its investment in Emeis Holdings Pty Ltd ("Aēsop").

The award was presented at the annual AVCAL Alpha conference in front of several hundred attendees from the industry. HAPE invested in Aēsop in 2009 to assist in funding the continued growth of Aēsop. At the closing of the sale of the business in March 2013 to Natura Cosméticos, HAPE made a 4.9x investment multiple and an internal rate of return of 66% per annum for its investors with further contingent proceeds expected.

Established in Melbourne in 1987, Aēsop's mission is to create a range of superlative products for the skin, hair and body, using both plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients of the highest quality and proven efficacy. Today, Aēsop sells more than 70 products and formulates and develops its own products. 

"This is great recognition for the Aēsop management team and broader staff that worked very hard for four years to grow the earnings of the business by 63% per annum," said Jeremy Steele, HAPE's Senior Managing Director that led the investment in Aēsop. Mr Steele went on to say, "Receiving this award is a fantastic acknowledgement from our peers, but we are most delighted in the significant returns we delivered to our investors."

With HAPE's assistance, management improved the business, growing revenue and earnings and subsequently built a strong platform to maximize its attractiveness to an international buyer. HAPE's efforts also included driving expansion plans, opening Aēsop's first retail stores in Japan, U.S. and Hong Kong and doubling the global signature store footprint to 60.

HAPE was advised by Goldman Sachs, K&L Gates and PwC.

The Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association portfolio company awards recognize vision, achievement, creativity and entrepreneurship of AVCAL fund manager members.

The judging focus was on value-add by the fund manager, financial performance, returns to investors, innovation, industry competitiveness and overall contribution to the economy.

HMC, an alternative asset management firm with approximately $3 billion in assets under management as of September 1, 2013, is a privately-owned firm formed in 1993 to sponsor alternative asset investment funds. Based in Birmingham, Alabama, HMC serves foundations and endowments, funds of funds, pension funds, financial institutions, insurance companies, family offices and high net worth individuals across multiple asset classes. Investment strategies include European and US real estate, venture capital, mezzanine debt, independent power, US and Australian private equity, and public securities. 

Additional information about HMC can be found at

Contact Information:

Contact Information:
Harbert Management Corporation
2100 Third Avenue North
Birmingham, AL 35203
Contact: Bill Wos
Tel: +1 205 987 5589