Top portfolio companies recognised at a private equity industry awards in Johannesburg. PHOTO: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – The Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA), in collaboration with Investec and supported by Sanlam Investments, have announced the four category winners of the second annual SAVCA Industry Awards. 

Speaking at the awards ceremony in Johannesburg on Thursday night, SAVCA chief executive, Tanya van Lill said the four portfolio companies being recognised this year, while very diverse in terms of industry and approach, all had two things in common. 

“Firstly, they have all prospered from private equity and venture capital investment in the southern African region. More importantly, these companies all have a positive impact on job creation, the economy and social development.”

The 2019 category winners were, Aerobotics, a South African AgriTech company that builds advanced analytics on top of aerial drone and satellite imagery to deliver precision farming tools for clients. The company won the 2019 SAVCA Industry Award for Best Start-up/Venture Capital Company.

In 2018, Nedbank partnered with Aerobotics to conduct an initial experiment by flying drones over pecan nut farms of a prospective agricultural client at the time. This experiment won The Banker Tech Projects Awards 2018 for Best FinTech Partnership.

DSES Project Solutions won the 2019 SAVCA Industry Award for Best SME.

Operating in the engineering sector, DSES Project Solutions is a Level 1 BBBEE, 50 percent female-owned company that delivers large-scale projects in the areas of mechanical and piping, tank manufacturing, structural steelwork fabrication and erection. 

The Real Foods Group which owns several food brands with a focus on health and wellness won the 2019 SAVCA Industry Award for Best Mid-Market Company.

Kleoss Capital bought into the group in 2016 when it was still relatively small and had significant risk attached to it, taking a view that the health and wellness sector offered high-growth and resilience while backing the vision to consolidate the food side of this sector.

Meridian Consolidated Investments, a prominent African agricultural inputs business that manufactures, distributes and trades agricultural commodities in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe won the 2019 SAVCA Industry Chairman’s Award.

“The Chairman’s Award is awarded when there is an exceptional portfolio company that has not won its category but deserves to be specifically recognised,” Van Lill explained. 

“The judges felt that Meridian Consolidated Investments deserved this special recognition for achieving excellent financial and social returns in markets that are difficult to operate in, and where the significant impact has been felt.”

Speaking at the event, Andrew Chananie, Head of Leverage Finance at Investec, the lead sponsor of the event, said that it has been a pleasure to collaborate with SAVCA on this important event for the second year running. 

“Portfolio companies like our four winners do so much for the Southern African economy, which is why awards such as these are so important to recognise their exceptional performance and raise awareness of their vital contribution to society.”

African News Agency (ANA)