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New venture capital fund launched in Zim.

Takura Ventures, a private equity fund which will provide investment capital to private sector Zimbabwean companies, was recently launched by the Minister of State in the President's Office, Mr Cephas Msipa.

Takura Ventures will make equity or equity related investments in Zimbabwean companies, whether new or expanding, with the objective of achieving long term capital appreciation. It will be seeking to make investments across a broad range of business sectors and industries including manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and agroprocessing, mining, financial and other services, transport and others.

Each investment will be in the range of Z$2m to Z$15m per company for a shareholding of up to 49%. Applications will be approved on the viability of the business and the track record and commitment of the sponsors.

The fund, which had its first closing on November 14, 1996, has an initial capital of Z$100m ($9.7m). It is anticipated that a further Z$40m ($3.9m) will be committed by the second closing on 31 March 1997. Takura Ventures was conceived by the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), a British overseas development institution. The initial shareholders are CDC (41%), Swedfund, the overseas investment arm of the Swedish Government (21%) and local institutions: Old Mutual (16%), Zimbabwe Development Bank (12%), Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe (5%) and National Merchant Bank (5%).

Takura Ventures will be managed in Harare under a management support agreement with CDC, who have seconded the General Manager, Mr Rick Phillips. The Chairman is Mr Godfrey Comwe, the former Managing Director of Cluff Resources.

Addressing a reception to mark the launch of Takura, Mr Msipa said "Venture capital is a much needed form of finance for Zimbabwean companies attempting to take advantage of opportunities arising from economic liberalisation in Zimbabwe and the region.

"Whilst larger companies have recourse to the Stock Exchange and small companies are able to raise investment capital through the Venture Capital Co of Zimbabwe and other smaller funds, the demand for risk capital from medium-sized companies is not being satisfied by existing institutions. It is new funds like Takura Ventures which, by targeting a broad spectrum of businesses in the middle market, will stimulate growth and diversification of private sector enterprises, thereby creating employment and improved productive capacity."

Dr Roy Reynolds, CDC's Chief Executive, said "CDC has for some time looked forward to establishing a fund in Zimbabwe. We believe that following the success of recent economic reform programmes, the time has come for the establishment of such a fund.

"In Zimbabwe there is a new generation of entrepreneurs who can see the opportunities to create and build tomorrow's successful enterprises. Their success will depend on the very type of risk capital that Takura will provide."

The CDC will be able to assist Takura Ventures by calling on its 48 years of experience of investment in Africa.

The CDC manages seven other venture funds in Africa, including Comafin, the Commonwealth Africa Investment Fund, which targets larger investments than Takura.
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Title Annotation:Zimbabwe
Publication:African Business
Date:Jan 1, 1997
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