Graeme Hart (born 1955) is a New Zealand businessman reported to be the richest person in Australasia with a personal fortune of NZ$8.8 billion (US$6.1b) according to the 2009 Forbes rich list. The 2007 September 22–28 issue of the New Zealand Listener listed Hart as being the 29th most powerful New Zealander. He prefers to stay out of the general media and makes few public appearances.
Much like other leveraged buyout (LBO) private equity investors, Hart has a preference for buying under-performing and under-valued companies with steady cash flows which can be turned around through strong cash management, cost-cutting and restructuring with other businesses. Since his 2006 purchase of Carter Holt Harvey he has focused his acquisitions on the paper packaging sector. His largest acquisition to-date was for Alcoa's Packaging & Consumer group in 2008 for US$2.7bn, later renamed Reynolds Packaging Group. He does not directly manage his businesses, and is focused mostly on the financing related to re-capitalization of the companies.
Unlike other LBO investors however, Hart is not a believer of sharing the returns of the company, and does not allow any member of the team to get any share in the equity of the businesses. In this manner, he ensures that the risk and the substantial rewards of an LBO investment remain solely with him.
Forbes stated that Hart was the 110th-richest person in the world, as of 2009[update].
Hart's successful business career has humble origins—in his younger days, he worked as a tow-truck driver and as a panel beater after leaving school at 16.
In 1987, Hart completed an MBA from the University of Otago. His research thesis outlines the strategy for Rank, then a small hire company, to evolve into a major corporation. This strategy relies on using the cash flow of well-performing companies to fund debt, which as it gets paid off, increases the equity value of the initial investors, a.k.a leveraged buyouts.
Hart gained a big break when he purchased the Government Printing Office for less than its capital value in 1990. The purchase was 1.4x Earnings and Hart was provided generous payment terms. Then New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange initially refused to sign off the transaction. The following year he bought Whitcoulls Group which at that time included a retail chain of bookstores as well as office and stationery concerns. He has since sold off these interests.
Graeme Hart has a residence in Auckland, New Zealand. He attended Mount Roskill Grammar School.Hart says he lacks interest in making money for its own sake. He describes his personal wealth as a "by-product" of what he does.
While he prefers to keep a low profile in the general media he was notable for the launch of his 58m luxury motor yacht Ulysses at Auckland's Viaduct Harbour in January 2006. The yacht is valued at nearly $100M and took five years to complete due to being gutted by a fire during refit by a New Orleans shipyard.
From : www.wikipedia.org