Canadian private equity firm VenGrowth Asset Management has appointed Michael Cohen and Cynthia Lavoie to head up the investment team for the VenGrowth Advanced Life Sciences Fund. Cohen has been a managing general partner at the firm since 1994. Lavoie, a partner at VenGrowth, joined in 2003. The firm also announced the promotion of Andrew Vignuzzi to Partner. Vignuzzi joined VenGrowth in 2006.
VenGrowth Asset Management Inc. today announced that Michael Cohen and Dr. Cynthia Lavoie will head up the investment team for the VenGrowth Advanced Life Sciences Fund Inc. (“VGALS”) Michael Cohen has been with VenGrowth as a Managing General Partner since the inception of the retail venture funds in 1994. He has invested over $188 million in 17 companies, including companies in the health care sector. Michael has chaired the life sciences investment committee since the discipline was added to VenGrowth in 2002. Dr. Lavoie, a Partner at VenGrowth, has been an integral member of the life sciences investment discipline since joining VenGrowth in 2003. Cynthia holds a B.Sc. (Honours) in Biology, an MBA and a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Michael and Cynthia succeed Dr. Luc Marengere who has left to pursue new business interests. We would like to thank Luc for his contribution to VenGrowth.
Within the technology investment discipline, we are also pleased to announce the promotion of Andrew Vignuzzi to the position of Partner. Andrew has been an important member of the technology team since joining VenGrowth in 2006. Prior to joining VenGrowth, Andrew held senior roles at Nortel Networks. Andrew holds an MBA (Finance), an M.A.Sc. (Electrical) and a B.Eng. (Engineering Physics).
In light of the extended adverse exit market conditions for private portfolio companies, the Board of the Directors of The VenGrowth I Investment Fund Inc (“VGI”). The VenGrowth II Investment Fund Inc. (“VGII”) and The VenGrowth Advanced Life Sciences Fund Inc. (“VGALS”) have decided to continue the strategy of periodic distributions to shareholders implemented for each of those Funds in 2008 and 2009. This strategy requires the continued suspension of redemptions for these Funds. The strategy is intended to prevent any near and mid-term liquidity challenges, help achieve optimal exit values for maturing portfolio companies once exit market conditions improve and ensure the proceeds generated from those exits are returned to all shareholders.
In December last year, the Directors of each of VGI and VGII declared and paid a dividend of $950,000 ($0.141 per Class A share) and $20 million ($0.408 per Class A share), respectively, to holders of record on December 14, 2009. The Boards will be assessing the availability of excess cash for distribution in January.
The Independent Review Committee of each of the Funds has recommended the change to an annual distribution policy.
Each of VGII and VGALS sought and obtained the necessary regulatory relief to continue the annual distribution strategy. The relief expires on September 30, 2011, and an application to extend the period will be made prior to that time, if necessary.
Each of VGI, VGII and VGALS will honour redemption requests in those circumstances referred to as “hardship” cases such as on the death of the holder of Class A shares.
About VenGrowth Asset Management
VenGrowth is a premier Canadian private equity firm. Since 1982, VenGrowth has invested over $1.3 billion in almost 200 North American companies, working alongside business owners to maximize potential. For more information, please visit www.vengrowth.com.