Astara, formed in April 2020, is an integrated team of investors and operators whose individual members have worked together for years. With over 100 years of cumulative experience in the middle market, the individual members of the Astara team have participated in control equity investments in over 20 companies and held C-level positions in 12 companies through every phase of the business cycle. We will target a range of sectors where we have deep experience including building products, business & industrial services, forest products, packaging & converting, food processing & distribution, aerospace & defense, and niche manufacturing.
As a value-oriented and special-situations investor, Astara seeks to invest in sectors experiencing dislocation or in companies that are undergoing, or need to undergo, significant transformation. Many of our investments will leverage a catalyst that allows us to invest with a margin of safety. These transactions may include carve outs, restructurings, or buyouts of companies experiencing operational challenges where our investment creates the opportunity to improve the business.
We believe that sustainable value can only be created by making companies fundamentally better. Rather than rely on excessive leverage and financial engineering to drive returns, we will bring financial, operational, and strategic resources to partner with great management teams and position companies for long-term success. We will capitalize companies conservatively so they have the flexibility to make strategic investments and can withstand unforeseen economic downturns. This approach, combined with Astara team members’ collective experience, will allow us to transform and improve companies.
VALUES AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES
We build sustainable companies that are good corporate citizens, manage healthy and safe workforces, and play a positive role in their local communities. At Astara, “sustainable” means companies are managed so that their current earnings do not borrow from their future earnings. To accomplish this goal, we will capitalize companies in a way that allows management to invest in the employees, equipment, intellectual property, and infrastructure that will ensure their long-term success.
We believe in being a positive contributor to society. Through our investments we will contribute to healthier populations, shared wealth creation, cleaner environments, and increased employment. Prior to joining Astara, our team members have participated in investments that served as a catalyst to improved labor relations, better environmental compliance, and job creation when we have resuscitated an important employer in a community. Accordingly, Astara is a signatory to the UN PRI and utilizes ESG principles to inform its investment decisions and approach to operating companies.
Across the spectrum of interactions with counterparties, from LPs to intermediaries to stakeholders in companies, the Astara team members’ collective belief is that relationships matter, that all people should be treated with respect, and that transparency builds trust. Trust is hard to earn and can be lost in an instant. Therefore, we value integrity above all else.
Helping companies navigate challenges requires an investor to be clear-eyed about identifying risks, and to communicate with stakeholders honestly and transparently in order to build trust. We endeavor to see things as they are and to avoid wearing rose-colored glasses and the trap of underwriting heavily adjusted earnings. We “take out the hope and put in the plan” – a plan that is developed in partnership with the team that will execute it.