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New Zealand's Chandler Brothers to Divide Investments

Updated on

Richard and Christopher Chandler, New Zealand's richest executives and the brothers who reaped a more than five-fold return investing in South Korea's biggest oil refiner, will split up their investments after a 20-year partnership.

Sovereign Global Investment Ltd., the Chandlers' Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based fund, will divide into two separate investment companies from Dec. 1, the fund said in a statement e-mailed today in response to queries from Bloomberg News.

The division ``will facilitate the continued development of each of the founders' interests,'' Sovereign said in the statement. ``All investments will be split 50-50 between the brothers,'' Sovereign spokesman Richard Barton said in a telephone interview from China. He declined to provide details about Sovereign's funds under management.

Richard Chandler's Sovereign interests will be moved into a new company, Orient Global, with offices in Singapore, Dubai and London. Christopher Chandler will form Legatum Capital, with offices in Dubai and London. By splitting, the brothers' investment strategies will be ``nimbler,'' the statement said. ``Family bonds remain as warm and strong as ever,'' it said.

The Chandler brothers have combined wealth of $5 billion, Institutional Investor magazine reported from a March interview. They founded Sovereign Global, formerly known as Sovereign Asset Management Ltd., in 1986 with $10 million of capital built up by their New Zealand manufacturing, importing, retailing and property development interests.

Eastern Europe

Sovereign moved to Monaco in 1986 and to Dubai in 2004. The firm's investments focused on Hong Kong real estate during the late 1980s and on Latin American treasuries, telecommunications firms and utilities during the early 1990s, Sovereign's Web site says.

The focus then moved to an Eastern Europe in transition from communism to capitalism in 1994 and from 2002 to Japan's banking industry.

The fund's investments have included a $900 million stake in SK Corp., South Korea's largest oil refiner, which it sold in July 2005 at more than five times the average price it paid per share in 2003.

The sale ended a two-year battle for control of the company after the fund twice failed to oust Chairman Chey Tae Won. It alleged he was not fit to run the company after he was convicted of involvement in a $1.5 billion accounting fraud.

In August 2005 Sovereign sold $1 billion of shares in South Korea's LG Electronics Co. and LG Corp. after abandoning plans to participate in management.

Gazprom, Indiabulls

Sovereign has held stakes in Russia's OAO Gazprom, Japan's UFJ Holdings Inc., and this month bought a 4.5 percent stake in New Delhi-based Indiabulls Financial Services Ltd., whose shares have more than doubled in a year, for $66 million.

Indiabulls, which also counts Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal among its investors, began offering securities brokerage services in 2000. It sells financial products and services to 300,000 customers in 124 cities across India.

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