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The net asset value of the Mineworkers Investment Company's (MIC) portfolio has risen by 22 percent to R2.8 billion, CEO Mary Bomela said on Wednesday.

“We will be seeking opportunities in sectors where we are currently not invested and balancing the mix between listed and unlisted investments,” she said in a statement.

The most attractive investments were annuity-based businesses, with high growth prospects, and strong management teams.

In its annual review, the MIC confirmed a strong balance sheet, growth in net asset value, and healthy cash reserves. The review also announced the appointment of Bomela following the retirement of her predecessor Paul Nkuna.

The MIC portfolio covers various sectors, including financial services, media, technology, industrial groups, food and leisure.

MIC is a broad-based black economic empowerment investment company established in 1995 by the Mineworkers Investment Trust to create a sustainable asset base for mine, energy and construction workers and their dependants.

The company said it was eager to pursue opportunities in healthcare, retail, and telecommunication, and eyeing opportunities in the infrastructure value chain.

Bomela said government efforts to combat fronting could create demand among some private-sector businesses for more credible black empowerment partners.

There might be secondary empowerment opportunities as some first-generation empowerment investors look for an exit to realise value.

It said exit to date may have been blocked by lock-ins, market conditions and the requirements for business to remain empowered.

“In this scenario, MIC can unlock value for the existing empowerment investor and acquire sometimes substantial shareholdings without jeopardising a company's empowerment status.”

Bomela said secondary black economic empowerment transactions would enable the company to grow its investment portfolio while ensuring empowerment gains were entrenched.

MIC is expecting the new five-year phase of empowerment legislation to raise the bar on employment equity and procurement.

It said it would “redouble” its efforts to ensure BBBEE progress in the companies in which it invested.

Bomela said the MIC had withstood significant problems in the last five years, giving the company confidence to face the next five-year cycle. - Sapa