BLUE SKY DOUBLES PROFIT AS INVESTOR BASE AND ASSETS INCREASE

BLUE SKY DOUBLES PROFIT AS INVESTOR BASE AND ASSETS INCREASE

AN enlarged investor base coupled with a big increase in assets under management has driven Blue Sky Alternative Investments (ASX: BLA) to a full year profit of $25.6 million, an increase of 56 per cent on the previous year.

The Brisbane-based investment company's FY17 report revealed assets under management (AUM) had risen to $3.25 billion which was a net increase of $1 billion over 12 months and forecast it was on track to reach $5 billion by 30 June 2019.

Underlying revenue rose 35 per cent year on year to $85 million and the company increased its dividend per share from 16 cents to 23 cents.

"As our track record becomes more widely known, we have seen substantial growth in our investor base, reflected in the increase in our fee-earning AUM to $3.25 billion at 30 June 2017 which was up from $2.1 billion 12 months earlier," says Blue Sky MD Rob Shand.

"Our ability to source proprietary investment opportunities in private markets and our team's investment track record has driven increased investment from institutions, sophisticated and retail investors in Australia and overseas," he says.

Blue Sky secured seven new investments as well as a 15-year $50 million mandate to manage the South Australian Venture Capital Fund and sold off four of its investments including Hospital Pharmacy Services and Oak Tree, which delivered solid returns.

Founded by Mark Sowerby, now Queensland chief entrepreneur, Blue Sky has also moved into the retirement home space and student accommodation sector with five sites and nine sites respectively under development.

"Our approach to investing remains unchanged. We focus on making long-term investments in private markets with an emphasis on businesses and assets that have exposure to what we call 'the essentials' things that people need rather than things that people want," says Shand.

"These investments are in sectors such as food, education, retirement and water, all of which have compelling structural trends that underpin their growth.

Blue Sky will provide guidance for FY18 on 2 November, 2017.

At the time of writing, BLA shares are trading up 3.6 per cent at $9.90.

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