The Clermont Group is a Business House passionate about building businesses that lead industry, shape culture and contribute to the prosperity and well-being of the communities they serve.
The Clermont Group draws on more than a century of business experience. From advertising, retail, and property development, to building and investing in companies with global scale, our heritage of entrepreneurship and the values of hard work and integrity continue to guide our journey.
Today, we are a Singapore-headquartered international business House dedicated to building companies that fulfill our purpose to harness the goodness of business to build a better world. By stewarding companies in culturally relevant sectors, we seek to create a meaningful legacy and leave a cultural impact on our time and space.
Our entrepreneurial heritage can be traced back to Auckland, New Zealand in 1903, when Chicago-born Edward Chandler - the grandfather of Clermont's Founder and Chairman, Richard F. Chandler - started an advertising firm, Chandler & Co. In 1972, Edward’s son Robert and his wife Marija opened Chandler House, a department store in Hamilton, New Zealand. In 1982, their son Richard joined to lead the business, followed a year later by his younger brother, Christopher. In the years ahead, they developed the company into an integrated fashion, manufacturing, and retail operation, successfully opening a number of stores across New Zealand.
Marija Chandler’s father, Anton Guina, had a favourite saying: “If you want to launch big ships, you need deep harbours.” With New Zealand’s small economy at the top of the cycle, in 1986 Richard and Christopher decided to go in search of opportunities in larger economies. They divested the business and started Sovereign Asset Management as a family investment company. For the next two decades, Sovereign focused on investing in emerging markets at a point of political and economic liberalisation, using its influence to promote the importance of good governance for building champion businesses and strong economies.
Good corporate governance remains important for Clermont and our heritage in this field goes back to Richard F. Chandler's days as a student at Auckland University. In 1982, long before corporate governance became the key issue for business leaders that it is today, he wrote his Master of Commerce thesis on “Corporate Directorship Practices in New Zealand Listed Public Companies”. In the years after he graduated, he contributed a series of articles on governance for business journals in New Zealand and Singapore.
Sovereign began by investing in Hong Kong real estate in 1987 and then went on to be among the first portfolio investors in Brazil. In the 1990s, the company invested in Russia as the country, under the presidency of Boris Yeltsin, embraced a transition to a market-based economy. Sovereign’s aim was to help establish a culture of integrity. Alongside a number of other foreign investors, the company fought a series of corporate governance battles, winning a string of landmark legal victories. However, in 2004, as the promise of Russia becoming a European democracy led by the reforms of the Yeltsin era diminished, the company divested its final holdings and exited the country.
In the 2000s, Sovereign returned to Asia. In South Korea, it fought another lengthy corporate governance battle, challenging corruption among the country's corporate elite and establishing governance and business ethics as issues of national importance. In Japan, Sovereign went against the prevailing view of the market, and invested in a banking sector that analysts agreed was destined to be nationalised. When the sector recovered, Sovereign made a ten-fold return.
In 2006, following the demerger of Sovereign, Richard F. Chandler established the Clermont Group, with a new conglomerate business model comprising two divisions. Clermont Capital continues to focus on thematic investing in large listed companies in transition economies. Meanwhile, Clermont Holdings is dedicated to building a group of businesses in healthcare, financial services, and aerospace. This business model has created both greater resilience and a stronger sense of purpose.
The Clermont Group acquired Hoan My, our healthcare business in Vietnam, in 2013. Hoan My is now the country’s largest private healthcare provider, with 15 hospitals and six clinics, serving more than five million patient visits a year.
SBFC, our financial services company in India, was acquired by Clermont in 2017. From a small, bankrupt business, SBFC is today one of India’s fastest-growing financial services companies with 135 branches in 104 towns and cities across the country.
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world. Clermont is addressing this through two subsidiaries, magniX and Eviation, which together are leading the electrification of flight. magniX is the industry leader in electric propulsion units (EPUs) for aircraft. In December 2019, magniX flew an electrified De Havilland Beaver seaplane, the first all-electric commercial aircraft to take flight. Since then its propulsion technology has been responsible for the first ever point-to-point flight of an electric helicopter and the first flight of the world’s largest hydrogen fuel cell-powered airplane. It also provided the EPUs for the first flight of the Eviation Alice.
Eviation, an electric aircraft manufacturer, has been part of Clermont since January 2019. On 27 September 2022, the company’s battery-powered nine-passenger aircraft, named Alice, took to the skies, completing its historic first flight at Grant County International Airport in Washington, U.S. This achievement made Alice the world’s first all-electric commuter aircraft, marking a milestone for Eviation and launching a new era of sustainable, scalable, and affordable transportation.
Throughout history, it has always been innovation, entrepreneurship, and trade that have created prosperity for mankind. Innovative businesses with strong social missions are powerful creative forces to address the causes of poverty, disease, and pollution. At Clermont, we believe that business is a noble calling. Our legacy is determined not by the territory we take but by the culture we shape. We want to build iconic companies that create magical products and experiences, and in so doing change the world.