January 9, 2018 / 6:32 PM / 5 months ago

REFILE-UPDATE 1-UK private equity firm Terra Firma appoints new CFO as it seeks to raise new fund

(Refiles to add dropped word “chief” in first paragraph)

By Dasha Afanasieva

LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Terra Firma has appointed Vivek Ahuja, former deputy group chief financial officer of Standard Chartered, as group chief financial officer, the buyout fund said on Tuesday, in a bid to rebuild investor support.

The backer of the beleaguered Four Seasons care homes chain is working to reassure investors as it seeks to raise its first proper fund in more than a decade.

Terra Firma has also appointed Mark Elliott as a managing director and head of support capital. Elliott joins from Lloyds Banking Group.

David Browne is joining as a director in the private equity team from Paine Schwartz Partners, a specialist private equity fund based in New York.

Terra Firma, which sources say is seeking 3 billion euros ($3.58 billion) for its latest buyout fund, paid no dividend to its shareholders in the year ending March 2017, it said in company accounts on Thursday, compared with the 3.5 million pounds ($4.7 million) it paid in the previous year. It increased its headcount to 85 from 80.

The firm, which was spun out of Nomura, bought EMI for 2.4 billion pounds in 2007, at the height of the credit bubble. But when EMI’s performance slumped and the financial crisis hit, the buyout house lost its entire investment and had its reputation severely dented.

Since then, the only fund it raised was a single asset fund raised to acquire Ministry of Defence residential company Annington Homes from Nomura which closed at the end of 2012.

The new hires are part of a drive to appease investors who told Terra Firma’s founder Guy Hands to bring in more experienced people in the aftermath of the EMI setback.

The advice prompted the hire of the former chief executive of Sainsbury’s, Justin King, as vice chairman in 2015 and former Australia & New Zealand Banking Group executive Andrew Geczy as chief executive in 2016.

The firm, which has 11 billion euros in assets under management, is also grappling with a legal dispute with the bondholders of Four Seasons over some of the care homes in the chain.

Asked about the firm’s strategy, Geczy said: “We look at orphaned, mismanaged assets which are asset backed and need transformation, if possible in essential industries.” ($1 = 0.8383 euros) ($1 = 0.7392 pounds) (Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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