Astara invests in middle market companies where its financial, operational, and strategic resources combine to build sustainable value and deliver exceptional returns to investors. We find value in companies that can leverage our network of operators and advisors to access strategic and functional expertise that might not otherwise be available to them. As a builder of businesses, we do not shy away from companies that are undergoing complex operational and financial challenges.
Astara often invests in sectors experiencing dislocation or in companies that are undergoing, or need to undergo, significant transformation. These investments frequently leverage a catalyst that allows us to invest with a margin of safety. Examples include:
Families and founders seeking a financial partner
Corporate carve-outs and divestitures
Restructurings and bankruptcies
Creditors, Suppliers, Customers, Labor, Regulators
Building Strong Companies
In partnership with strong management teams, we embark on a multi-year journey to build sustainable value by investing in our companies to improve their long-term performance. Our team and network of industry operators and functional experts provide our portfolio companies with access to substantial resources that might not otherwise be available to them. Key elements of our ownership approach include:
An active Board of Directors that includes independent Directors with sector and functional expertise brings not only oversight but also valuable insight into the company’s strategic direction, customer and supply chain relationships, and experience implementing important initiatives. By engaging at the Board level, we support the execution of the value creation plan that we and management jointly develop during underwriting.
Employees are the most valuable asset of our portfolio companies. Workforce education, training, and succession planning are hallmarks of a great company. As such, we invest in and empower our portfolio’s workforce while providing a healthy and safe workplace environment.
As a team of both investors and operators, we appreciate how implementing industry best practices positively impacts a company’s performance. By partnering with excellent management teams and utilizing conservative financial leverage, our portfolio companies have both the capability and flexibility to invest in equipment, human capital, and IT systems, while adopting proven processes and practices. These investments allow our portfolio companies to improve both profitability and customer satisfaction.
We are strong believers in being good corporate citizens and that investments in ESG don’t erode investment returns – attention to issues like environmental compliance, safety performance, and corporate governance are additive to creating value. ESG principles help to inform our investment decisions and our approach to ownership.
Partnering with strong management teams and aligning incentives is core to our investment approach. We leverage training, collaboration, and investment to strengthen teams and drive portfolio company performance and returns for our investors. Executives co-invest alongside Astara and participate in a Management Incentive Plan that provides significant rewards for superior performance.
A coherent strategy is informed by understanding, with the support of data, the competitive dynamics faced by each company. Focusing companies on their core competencies and where they have a competitive advantage allows management to concentrate on the most important initiatives and position their organization for long term growth. Equally important is steering away from legacy business lines or units that have, through competitive or sector-driven changes, become unattractive areas for investment.
Sound decision making is only possible when informed by good data. Having accurate, timely, and straight-forward reporting empowers management teams to make better decisions and drive improvements throughout the organization. We apply our experience to enhance and customize reporting for each company, focusing on actionable metrics and the most critical data to drive growth and efficiency.