Capital S.M.A.R.T Not For Sale: AMA Group

AMA Group has confirmed it is not interested in selling Capital S.M.A.R.T to a syndicate led by co-founder Jim Vais and former Suncorp executive Mark Milliner, following a report in the Australian Financial Review’s Street Talk column.

Street Talk said the syndicate was believed to be willing to pay more than $50 million for the business, which was valued at $420 million five years ago when AMA obtained it from Suncorp. It was suggested that the sale would have aided AMA’s attempts to refinance about $130 million of bank debt and about $50 million in convertible notes, but the group emphatically rejected the proposition.

“The group refers to previous disclosures that it is progressing its debt refinancing and expects to finalise the new arrangements through 2H24. The group is currently considering a range of refinancing structures. These options do not include an asset sale,” said AMA in a statement to the ASX.

“AMA Group will continue to update the market in accordance with its continuous disclosure obligations.”

According to Street Talk, Vais and Milliner led a syndicate called Firebird, with the proposal also involving institutional, private broking and portfolio management services company Taylor Collison and advisory company Hunter Green, led by Suncorp “operative” Charlie Green. Had an attempt to obtain due diligence been successful, a private equity company would have financed the deal.

Vais founded Capital S.M.A.R.T 17 years ago as a joint venture with Suncorp, selling it to the insurer in 2010. The report said he attempted to buy the business in a joint bid with Quadrant Private Equity in 2019 but lost the bidding war to AMA.