Benchmark International’s industry agnostic approach has proven to be informative during the Covid-19 epidemic. Interest in most of our client base has not declined and we are receiving queries from a wide range of parties.
Who are these interested parties and what is their investment approach? Analysing the data provides an interesting insight and some understanding of the shifting approach amongst these different categories of buyers.
• Listed Companies with their robust balance sheets are compelled to continue investing to meet forecast performance targets and stakeholder objectives. Generally, their acquisition mandates are governed by their investment committees where risk is a dominant factor. Turnaround and distressed assets are typically less attractive unless fulfilling a defined strategic need.
• Foreign Corporates from the Western to Eastern hemisphere still see South Africa as a stable foundation to expand through to Sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa’s well-developed IT and broadband infrastructure, advanced legal and banking sectors, safe aviation record, and access to a cost effective English-based labour pool facilitates business across the African continent. Themes of specific interest have emerged with a higher than normal volume of inbound enquiries for renewable energy, TMT, IT infrastructure and service as well as software businesses in particular.
• Private Equity in South Africa has grown and matured immensely over the last decade and remains one of the top acquirers/investee categories in the middle market for Benchmark international. Attached to the funds they raise are set acquisition criteria, investment limits and defined investment timelines where cash reserves must be spent. Similar to the listed segment, risk profiles are a key investment mandate consideration. During lockdown, Benchmark International has experienced a slight shift in the number of deals concluded towards those that have private equity components to them.
• Family Offices have shown resilience through the epidemic and continue to show interest in our opportunities. Their mandates are more flexible but are primarily based on where their strategic and financial input will maximise returns.
• Covid-19 has forced Large Private Companies to look at vertical integration of their supply chains. They also continue to seek to grow their market share through horizontal acquisitions and acquisitions of niche market opportunities.
• High Net Worth Individuals remain interested in growing their asset bases. They generally focus on opportunities in which they have existing investments and expertise and are able to achieve economies of scale.