Washington, DC, January 8, 2008 -- Darby Overseas Investments, Ltd. ("Darby"), the private equity arm of Franklin Templeton Investments, announced that Diane Smith has joined the firm to oversee its mezzanine finance activities in Latin America. Her past experience has included the launching and management of several new private equity and mezzanine businesses in both the US and Latin America, and Brazil in particular.
Prior to forming her own firm to advise early stage entrepreneurs seeking private growth capital, Ms. Smith was a Managing Director at Electra Investment Trust PLC, a major private equity firm listed on the London Stock Exchange. In the late 1990s she led Electra's expansion into Latin America, forming fund management companies jointly with financial institutions in Argentina and Brazil, and raising third-party funds to invest in these countries. While at Electra she also played a key role in building the firm's new US principal investing business to over $500 million in equity and mezzanine investments.
Julio Lastres, Darby's Senior Managing Director – Latin America, commented: "Diane brings to our firm a strong combination of talents: an impressive industry track record and broad knowledge of the region. As we expand our presence there even further, her experience of investing in various countries over a wide range of sectors, including infrastructure, will be invaluable."
Darby currently has plans to significantly increase its Latin American mezzanine business through regional and country mezzanine funds. Darby launched the first and, to date, the only dedicated mezzanine fund operating in Latin America in 1999, the $195 million Darby Latin American Mezzanine Fund. Today the firm is an emerging markets leader in mezzanine finance, having made about $600 million of mezzanine investment in Asian, Central and Eastern European and Latin American companies.
Darby Overseas Investments, Ltd. was founded in 1994 by The Honorable Nicholas F. Brady, who served as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury between 1988 and 1993. In 2003 Darby became a fully owned subsidiary of Franklin Resources, Inc. [NYSE:BEN], a global investment management organization operating as Franklin Templeton Investments. Franklin Templeton Institutional, which is part of Franklin Templeton Investments, provides global and domestic investment management solutions managed by the Franklin Global Advisers, Templeton, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income, Franklin Templeton Real Estate Advisors, Darby and Mutual Series investment management teams. The San Mateo, California-based company has 60 years of investment experience and approximately US$647 billion in assets under management as of November 30, 2007.