B.C. businessman hunting for investments in N.L.

Daniel
Daniel MacEachern
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Investor Peter Gustavson is shown on a billboard in Times Square, New York City. Gustavson is looking for investment opportunities in this province. — Submitted photo

A businessman who made his fortune in foreign-currency ex-change is looking for new investments in Newfoundland and Lab-rador.

Peter Gustavson, Winnipeg-born and Victoria-based, founded Custom House Currency Exchange in 1992 and sold it 17 years later for $370 million to Western Union.

Gustavson Capital, his new private equity investment firm, is hunting for new Canadian investments, and he says he’s drawn to Newfoundland and Labrador’s resource sector.

Strong background in marine industries

“We’re located in Victoria, which is obviously on the other side of the country, but we have a strong background in the marine industries, and as well done a lot of investing in the oilpatch in Alberta,” he said this week.

“Both of those industries are significant in Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

“Because those industries are prominent in the province and we do have a background and good expertise in those industries, so that’s a good starting point. But we don’t want to exclude someone if they’ve got an interesting entrepreneurial venture that they’re looking for investment in Newfoundland. We’d certainly have a look at it,” Gustavson said.

A lot of private-equity firms are looking in “hot spots” like Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, he said, but he wants to look further afield.

“We’re finding some really interesting ventures outside the big centres, and some of them have got a lot of promise and some really good operators, and what they’re missing is the expansion capital to grow their business,” he said, adding his work building Custom House made him sympathetic to small firms hoping to attract investors.

“In my prior career, we ended up the second-largest non-bank foreign exchange company in sleepy Victoria, and we had a lot of trouble trying to attract venture capital, private equity, actually, and we had to go all the way to Boston to find it.”

Gustavson is inviting companies to get in touch with Gustavson Capital, but warns he’s not an angel investor for a firm just trying to get off the ground. “They’re going to have an established business, they’re going to have growing revenue, they’re going to be at or near break-even. They’ve got a business that isn’t quite bankable but with some capital can grow quite significantly,” he said.

 

dmaceachern@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Newfoundland and Lab, Custom House Currency Exchange

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Victoria, Winnipeg Alberta Toronto Calgary Vancouver Boston

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Recent comments

  • john dean
    April 08, 2013 - 11:27

    come to nl and se up a ship building industry, theres pl.enty of ships to be built here , but the present company dont want to build them , billions to be made. lots of land and a good port at stephenville with an airport a kilometre from the port

  • Observer
    April 07, 2013 - 17:19

    From these rude, mean-spirited, poisonous remarks,..... " Valdmanis-esque opportunists..."' the guy ought to prepare himself for the spite and viciousness that spews from "friendly" Newfoundlanders towards anyone who is self-made and successful. This isn't BC. Around here they're jealous , distrustful and downright bitter if you work hard and get ahead, or if you come from somewhere else. In many ways, this is not a welcoming place so he'd better brace himself for the nasty comments from the pack of critics who have nothing good to say about anyone.

  • Corporate Psycho
    April 05, 2013 - 19:44

    Why not invest in MF? Oh yeah, never mind.

  • I live here
    April 04, 2013 - 17:19

    Gee maybe he can invest in the new Industrial Park for Spaniards Bay that started three years ago, no two years ago, no wait last year, no wait maybe this year. Land stripped and ruined for what - maybe a housing developement later. It appears the Industrial Park for this area will be in Bay Roberts where there is movement instead of just yearly press releases.

  • david
    April 04, 2013 - 13:04

    "...foreign-currency ex-change...." now a "...new private equity investment firm...". This guy sure sounds like a real roll-up-your-sleeves, no nonsense guy who knows how to create sustainable jobs and manage a large workforce, with a real deep appreciation for the work ethic and productivity issues here. Surely not the type to see a rube of a target like this rudderless, spineless Newfoundland government desperately looking for some home-run swings and photo-ops giving out wheelbarrows of taxpayer money to Valdmanis-esque opportunists. Nope, this sounds great. We're saved.