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Belgians take key shareholding in Kiwi fund manager

-Press Release

Thursday 31st May 2007

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The asset management arm of Europe's 11th largest bank, KBC Group, has joined kiwi firm, Liontamer Investments as 51% shareholders.

Liontamer is a boutique fund manager and the only specialist provider of capital protected managed funds in New Zealand.

Since 2003 they have launched 21 funds with full or partial capital protection, covering a range of asset classes including global equities and commodities.

Liontamer currently has approximately $200 million in funds under management and 7,000 investors.

Belgium based KBC operates across Europe as well as Asia, and has 11 million customers and over 50,000 employees.

The bank has a market capitalisation of NZ$66 billion, bigger than New Zealand's top 50 companies combined ($53 billion).

They are listed on Euronext Brussels and the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, however this is their first foray into Australasia.

Commenting on the deal, Stefan Duchateau, CEO of KBC Asset Management, said, "We are delighted to have taken this important step forward. Thanks to this takeover, we can further develop our operations in the Asia-Pacific region and tap into the considerable potential that the region has to offer."

KBC are a market leader in socially responsible investment funds and are world renowned for their funds which invest in themes such as Water, Alternative Energy and Climate Change.

Laetitia Peterson, Managing Director of Liontamer says, "a partnership with KBC provides us with access to these funds and a platform for further growth and expansion into the Australian market. For financial advisers and brokers, having access to a wider range of international funds will enhance the New Zealand market."

"We believe that KBC's involvement will be significant for New Zealand investors, who will benefit from one of Europe's leaders in capital protected products bringing their expertise and pricing power to the Liontamer business" she says.

KBC said it will help Liontamer design new products and improve the competitiveness of its capital protected products. Liontamer will now distribute open-ended funds alongside its capital protected offering.

Liontamer's Investments Director, Janine Starks adds, "KBC are one of the leading distributors of capital protected funds in Europe. For perspective, KBC have 1,200 structured products in the market and produce 20-30 new funds a month. They have 38 billion (over NZ$70 billion) in structured products under management; that brings a lot of expertise that we will tap into."

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