Ninety One raising fund for virus-hit South African firms
JOHANNESBURG - Ninety One Plc is raising a recovery fund to invest in South African companies struggling with the economic fallout from the spread of coronavirus.
The firm is targeting 10 billion rand ($595 million) and will market the fund to institutional investors in South Africa, according to a statement from the firm. The Ninety One SA Recovery Fund will invest in public and private equity as well as debt, with an investment horizon of at least 18 months.
“The lockdown, while necessary to protect the nation’s health, has been akin to putting the economy into an induced coma,” Hendrik du Toit, Ninety One’s chief executive officer, said in the statement. “South Africa faces a once-in-a-generation economic challenge.”
The country is emerging from a strict national lockdown this month, imposed by the state in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus and bringing the nation’s economy to a virtual standstill. The disease continues to spread at a worrying rate and infections are expected to pass the 50,000 mark this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a letter on Monday.
The economic fallout has broken down South Africa’s earlier resistance to borrowing from the International Monetary Fund, which it had previously said could compromise its sovereignty. The government is negotiating with the Washington-based agency for a $4.2 billion loan.
Ninety One has identified companies that it knows well to make investments in, du Toit said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “We don’t want to go and put money into losers just to buy very expensive jobs.”
The investment is more important in emerging economies like South Africa, where there is less fiscal support from government, he said.
Ninety One, which manages assets of about $130 billion, is raising the fund with Ethos Private Equity.