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CAPE TOWN – EPE CAPITAL Partners has said the number of private equity investment opportunities in southern Africa rose significantly in the six months to end 2018, despite the volatile and uncertain economic climate.

EPE chief executive Peter Hayward-Butt yesterday said the group spent R830million in a broad spectrum of investments during the period, with the assets operating in different sectors and of different vintages.

Hayward-Butt said 37percent of the assets were in other sub-Saharan countries, and these were showing good growth.

“At the same time it’s no good complaining about the slow economy,” he said, adding the management teams of the companies that Ethos had invested in were either making plans to grow organically by taking market share, or to grow through acquisition.

EPE invests primarily in unlisted private equities that are managed by Ethos Private Equity, which listed on the JSE in 2016. The group spent R600m into three new portfolio companies, increasing the total invested capital to R1.3billion.

It said it signed two more transactions, which, upon completion this year, would increase the invested capital to 81percent of total assets, and underlying exposure to 17 companies.

EPE shares rose 2.78percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R7.40.

The group said it also managed to increase its net asset value per share to R11.16 during the period.

It said its commitments to Ethos Funds and Direct Investments also rose to R3.2bn.

“As one of the few African-based private equity firms with capital to invest, Ethos has assessed a vast number of investment opportunities in the past 12 months,” EPE said.

“This has resulted in seven transactions across its managed funds totalling R4.1bn.”

The group said its pipeline of transactions for Ethos Mid Market Fund I, with its R2.5bn capital base, continued to be strong.

It said it had signed an agreement to acquire Echotel. It acquired the analytics businesses Wearcheck, Amis and Set Point out of Torre Industries in November.

EPE shares rose 2.78percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R7.40.