Media Releases


NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR SASKATCHEWAN'S PRIVATE VENTURE CAPITAL COMPANIES

August 18, 2003

Crown Investments Corporation (CIC) announced today that, subject to regulatory approval, it will transfer management of the majority of its investments under $3 million to two of Saskatchewan's premier financial management services companies, Westcap Mgt. Ltd. (Westcap) of Saskatoon and PFM Corporate Finance Consulting Inc. (PFM) of Regina.

"This is part of our government's plan to foster growth in Saskatchewan's private venture capital market," CIC Minister Maynard Sonntag said. "This transfer of much of CIC's small investment portfolio will assist in the development of two successful Saskatchewan-based venture capital management companies, and at the same time, help Saskatchewan business access the capital they need to grow."

The transfer of $22.7 million in small investments includes 72 businesses. The investments were initially made by Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation (SOCO), Saskatchewan Economic Development Corporation (SEDCO), Community Bonds and Saskatchewan Diversification Corporation (SDC) and are currently administrated by CIC III investment managers.

PFM's CEO Randy Beattie is anxious to serve the businesses that will be transferred to his company. "We're excited about the prospect of establishing long term relationships with our new clients and demonstrate our ability to provide value added services and capital to help them grow their companies." PFM manages funds for Prairie Financial Management. Established in 1998, the company oversees more than $14.5 million in capital.

CIC will continue to own the assets, while investment management decisions will be the role of PFM and Westcap through the management of two newly established funds. Each fund will be established with an additional $1 million for expected follow-on investments that the investee companies may require for expansion and growth.

Trent Bobinski, President of Del-Air Systems Ltd., will see the management of his investment transferred to Westcap. "This is a good strategic move: it's a benefit to our company because it provides a clear 'go forward' direction from both an administration and potential investment perspective. We've had a good working relationship with CIC and Golden Opportunities, and I anticipate the same with Westcap."

PFM and Westcap were selected after a thorough "Request for Proposal" (RFP) process and independent consultant's review over the last twelve months.

"We are delighted to participate in CIC's decision to outsource the services of fund management. The development of the province's private venture capital sector has been facilitated through a number of initiatives led by CIC which have been highly successful. This is another key step in fostering and growing a local and private venture capital base," President and CEO of Westcap Grant Kook said. Westcap manages in excess of $33 million in funds under Golden Opportunities Fund Inc., Saskatchewan's first and largest provincial labour-sponsored venture capital corporation.

As part of its ongoing efforts to develop Saskatchewan's private investment marketplace, CIC will continue to monitor the availability of capital in the province and help build the capacity and availability of private sources of capital. CIC is not precluded from making new investments under $3 million but will be encouraging prospective investors to explore the many private sources of investment capital that have evolved over the last number of years. CIC is committed to ensuring Saskatchewan companies have access to capital to grow their businesses, and in turn, the economy, but will focus on its strategy of investing in funds with private and institutional investors.

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For More Information, Contact:

Lanis Anthony
Crown Investments Corporation
Regina
Phone: (306)787-7273