Darby hires former Electra MD

The private equity arm of Franklin Templeton Investments has brought in Diane Smith to lead a dramatic expansion of its Latin American mezzanine business.

Darby Overseas Investments, the private equity arm of Franklin Templeton Investments, has hired Diane Smith to head its Latin American mezzanine business. Smith was most recently a managing director at listed UK private equity firm Electra Investments.

Diane Smith

Smith led Electra’s expansion into Latin America in the late 1990s, establishing fund management companies with local financial partners in Argentina and Brazil, as well as raising third-party funds for those countries.

Darby senior managing director Julio Lastres said Smith’s hire would be instrumental for the firm’s continued expansion in the region.

“Her experience of investing in various countries over a wide range of sectors, including infrastructure, will be invaluable,” Lastres said.

Darby raised $195 million in 1999 for its first Latin American mezzanine fund, which the firm said is currently the only dedicated mezzanine fund operating in the region. Darby said it plans to significantly increase its Latin American mezzanine business through the establishment of several additional regional and country-specific funds.

To date Darby has committed $600 million to mezzanine investments in Asia, Central and Eastern Europe and Latin American.