Wingate and Safika form new private equity business

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Melbourne-based investment and advisory firm Wingate Group, and Safika Holdings, one of South Africa’s largest investment holding companies, have formed a Melbourne-based joint venture, Winsaf Pty Ltd, to undertake principal investments in Australia and Asia and help Australian companies invest into Africa.

Melbourne-based investment and advisory firm Wingate Group, and Safika Holdings, one of South Africa’s largest investment holding companies, have formed a Melbourne-based joint venture, Winsaf Pty Ltd, to undertake principal investments in Australia and Asia and help Australian companies invest into Africa.

In addition to the Winsaf joint venture, Safika has taken a strategic holding in Wingate Group through a fresh issue of capital by Wingate, further strengthening the relationship.

Mr Marc Ber, Safika’s head of investment, has been appointed chief executive officer of Winsaf. He will continue as a director of Safika and head of investment for that company, and divide his time between Johannesburg and Melbourne. Mr Steve Lipchin, Wingate Group’s head of private equity, and Mr Richard Blumberg, Wingate’s managing director of capital solutions, will work with Mr Ber to develop the Winsaf business.

The two businesses will operate in close conjunction, jointly investing in opportunities that meet their investment criteria.

Mr Farrel Meltzer of Wingate Group said that Wingate and Safika have complementary expertise and approaches in principal investment.

“The joint venture brings together the knowledge, experience and abilities of two highly regarded, experienced and successful investment businesses that will primarily focus on opportunities in Australia but will also take advantage of growth and developments in Asia.

“Winsaf will initially focus on the financial services, transport and logistics, industrial, mining and resources sectors, areas which are poised for strong growth in Australia and the emerging Asian markets.

“It will also bring new opportunities for Wingate clients to co-invest in companies that Winsaf identifies as having substantial upside.

“In addition, Winsaf will open up opportunities in the African continent, which is experiencing high growth, for Australian investors and, through the very useful connections of Safika, provide assistance to Australian businesses that are seeking to expand into Africa,” Mr Meltzer said.

As part of the arrangement, Mr Moss Ngoasheng, Safika’s chief executive, will join Wingate Group’s board of directors.

Mr Ngoasheng said the new partnership is ideally positioned to take advantage of the numerous opportunities in the Pacific Rim region.

“The first stage will be to go through the opportunities that we believe are most promising, and choose the best of them. “While this is a process that has to be done carefully and thoroughly, I expect Winsaf will move quickly to take advantage of the unparalleled opportunities in the region at the moment.

“In our view, there are enormous investment opportunities in Australia, which has a strong international reputation as a stable, reliable country that has withstood the credit crisis extremely well. Wingate is the ideal partner for us to take advantage of those opportunities,” Mr Ngoasheng said.

Last year, Wingate introduced a major investor to Boost Juice as well as helped the owners of Westmix implement an exit strategy through a sale to US company Ames True Temper, and provided mezzanine finance for Plenary Group’s acquisition of 50 percent of the iconic South Warf retail precinct in Melbourne.

Safika has recently been involved in other major deals in Australia including partnerships with ASX-listed companies OMH Holdings and Jupiter Mines, to develop a manganese mine in Africa.

Safika Holdings is one of South Africa’s most substantial and prominent investment holding companies. Its range of interests spans financial services, mining and resources, industrial, transport and logistics, gaming, human resources, telecommunications, media and technology.

Safika has substantial investments in a number of well-known South African corporations including Standard Bank, Liberty Life, The Kelly Group and Ntsimbintle Mining (a partner with BHP & Anglo American). Mr Ngoasheng is on the boards of SA Breweries Ltd, Dimension Data Holding PLC, The Kelley Group Ltd and other high-profile organisations.

The Wingate Group is a private investment and advisory firm focused on advisory and principal investment, property and listed investments. It was founded in 2003 and is based in Melbourne. Wingate advises and co-invests with many of Australia’s most substantial private families and companies. It has a joint venture, Wingate Asset Management, with Australian Unity Investments which invests in international equities.

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For more information please contact:
Farrel Meltzer – 03 9913 0700

15 February 2011