Private equity firm the Carlyle Group has appointed David Balint director of CarlyleÆs Asia leveraged finance group, based in Sydney.

Balint will manage CarlyleÆs investment strategy in Australia and New Zealand and will report to Eric Mason, who heads the Carlyle Asia leveraged finance group. Balint has already started work in his new role.

Balint brings to his new job 12 years of investment banking experience in debt structuring, arranging and advisory. He joins Carlyle from Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) where he was a director of the leveraged and acquisition business based in Sydney for four years. In this role at ANZ he originated the arranging and underwriting of leveraged and acquisition transactions, helping to support financial sponsors and Australian companies. Balint also worked with ANZÆs project and structured finance offices in Melbourne and London as a financial advisor and arranger/underwriter to the project finance markets in Australia, Europe and the Middle East.

ôAdding a senior executive based in Sydney to work with our investment professionals in Tokyo and Hong Kong also reaffirms the teamÆs commitment to maintaining a strong local presence in its core markets,ö says Mason in a written statement. Mason also emphasised that the appointment underscores CarlyleÆs continued confidence in investment opportunities in leveraged finance in the Asia-Pacific region.

CarlyleÆs Asia leveraged finance group was created in June 2007 when the private equity firm poached Mason from JPMorgan where he was co-head of the US bankÆs syndicate and leveraged finance business. The appointment coincided with a worsening of the subprime situation which led some market observers to suggest that it could be a challenging time for the private equity firm to be enhancing its focus on leveraged finance.

But Mason remained optimistic and told FinanceAsia in an interview in September: ôOverall the subprime mortgage situation has a very limited impact directly on our plans. There is better pricing for our target assets and in an accommodative credit market this provides the basis of a fundamentally sound business planö.

Since Mason joined Carlyle the leveraged finance group has expanded into a team of six professionals in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Sydney. Globally the firmÆs leveraged finance group manages more than $14 billion across 24 funds.