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July 2010

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FROM THE PEN

Mergers and Acquisitions

In the most recent month’s column, I shared with you that I was hopeful of Africa’s emerging role in what is termed the ‘new financial world order’. After all, as explained, ‘Africa is well placed to take advantage of any global economic recovery, especially because it is relatively less exposed than the other emerging markets’.

So, while our ‘relatively less exposed’ economy was certainly shielded to some extent, we did not escape completely unaffected.

J-P Fourie, SAVCA: Executive Officer, said in mid-May at the launch of the SAVCA/KPMG Venture Capital and Private Equity Performance Survey for South Africa, that the private equity industry, in particular, was struck by reduced debt availability, portfolio write-downs and constricted exit environments, both locally and globally.
“Fund raising was tricky over the period under review and by the end of the year, the funds raised only amounted to just over half the value achieved in 2008. We have however seen very little distressed debt situations in comparison to other markets predominantly due to the lower levels of gearing in our local deals.”

So, while there perhaps isn’t a need for doom and gloom, the correlation between foreign investment and economic growth certainly exists, and with global capital scarcity and investor caution, the challenge is certainly to look at risk, capital protection and management differently, and hopefully more effectively.

Raina

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