We are pleased to announce that Ascension Private Equity Fund I (“APEF”) officially achieved its first close on the 21st June 2021, with first close commitments of R350m. APEF is managed by Ascension Capital Partners Fund Manager, a majority Black owned fund manager.
APEF operates as a sector agnostic fund targeting equity investments in innovative businesses across multiple sectors including healthcare, food security, fast moving consumer goods, water, sanitation, manufacturing and technology driven businesses. APEF will seek to invest in South African businesses with an emphasis on businesses that may have exposure to or expand significantly into other high growth markets.
The key thematic drivers that inform our investment principles include identifying global trends driven by politics, culture, ESG principles and demographics or a combination thereof. We are highly selective when it comes to making investment decisions and select businesses that are able to weather a constantly evolving macroeconomic landscape. Considerations that inform our investment thesis include:
- Businesses that can withstand or capitalize on the disruptive impact of the fourth industrial revolution; and
- Seeking businesses which cater for and/or enhance basic human needs and a better quality of life.
We are focused on finding innovative businesses that appeal to changing global trends. APEF is targeting final closing commitments of R 1.5 billion. Managing Director Kabelo Moja noted “We are humbled to have achieved this milestone and believe that in light of the unique macroeconomic climate that we are currently in, we are well positioned to capitalize on unique value enhancing opportunities in order to preserve and create jobs, drive value and transformation and contribute to the South African economic growth narrative. Private equity as an asset class continues to outperform and grow as an alternate asset class that is attractive to many institutional investors looking for portfolio diversification”. Chief Investment Officer Kabelo Senoelo added: “The first close target for Ascension provides us with an opportunity to actively invest and contribute to the South African economy. The fund will look at investing equity cheque sizes of between R50 million and R150 million as we believe that these mid cap businesses, which meet our investment criteria, show a higher probability of growth trajectory in the current environment. We believe that the post-Covid environment will present good investment opportunities and therefore delighted that we are in a position to deploy capital. The fund will work alongside the management teams and founders of investee companies with the objective of adding strategic value. We have a well-structured pipeline of transactions which are at different stages of analysis. The fund will remain open for new investors for the next 24 months to allow us to reach our final closing commitment amount.”
The fund will look to invest in companies that provide some capital protection underpinned with significant growth potential supported by an invested management team with an entrepreneurial vision. In light of global trends, the objective of APEF is not limited to commercial returns to its investors, but also to support ESG principles and their development through active implementation of robust globally accepted ESG standards in the policies of all our underlying investee companies. The capital deployed by APEF will be recognized by investee companies as being 100% Black owned.
Naairah Motala, Chief Operating Officer made the following observations: “Ascension strives to leave an impact beyond financial return. We are people-focused, collaborative and offer authentic leadership in business. We care about communities, the environment, transformation, and truly empowering people. These will be key motivators behind our investment activities.”.
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