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Private equity returns up a whopping 123% in 2016 reveals Savca report

South African private equity capital returns to investors were up 123.2% last year to R18.3-billion — up from R8.2-billion in 2015, reveals the Savca 2017 Private Equity Industry Survey, released today.

Tanya van Lill, CEO of the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (Savca), said between 2015 and last year, trade sales were reported as the most popular exit route in value terms while sales to management were the most popular by volume.

“The average proceeds per exit was R176.3-million in 2016, compared to R48.1-million in 2015. Realisations (returns to investors) in 2016 reflected a times money multiple of 2.0, an increase of 1.4 times reported in 2015.”

To obtain survey results, Savca, along with research partner KPMG South Africa, surveyed 61 managers, representing 96 funds, with a mandate to invest in South Africa and in other African markets.

‘Returns to investors in 2016 reflected a times money multiple of 2.0, an increase of 1.4 times reported in 2015’

The survey also revealed that Southern Africa’s private equity industry, including both government and private funds, had R171.8-billion in funds under management at the end of 2016, an increase from R158.5-billion in 2015. Of these funds under management in 2016, R58.2-billion is available for investments, of which R7.4-billion is for early-stage investments.

Van Lill says the growth in funds under management represents a compound annual growth rate of 11.4% since 1999, when the Savca survey first began.

“This growth is reflective of a growing industry and an increased interest from investors to invest in South African private equity.”

The cost of investments made during 2016, analysed by new and follow-on investments, totalled R15.5-billion – up from the R12.5-billion reported in 2015.

Of the investments made during 2016 (574) and classified into sectors by value, 14.2% were in the real-estate sector, 11% in the information technology sector, a further 11% in the energy sector, 10.3% in the services sector and 9.7% in the manufacturing sector.

The average deal size for new investments was R29.5-million, while average deal size for follow-on investments was R23.3-million.

In terms of fund raising activity, the total of third-party funds raised by the industry in Southern Africa in 2016 reached R10.2-billion, a significant decrease from the R27.5-billion reported for 2015. By regional source, R7.5 billion (73.5%) of total funds raised in 2016 were from South African sources (2015: 28.4%).

Van Lill however pointed out that the decline in funds raised from foreign sources was just an anomaly — with most of the 2015 figure accounted for by a large inflow from one overseas investor.

“While funds raised in 2016 were significantly lower than 2015, the substantial increase in capital returned to investors is indicative of the private equity life-cycle, showing that while certain periods focus on a fund raising mandate, other periods call for investment, and ultimately, the realisation of returns. This demonstrates the ability of the private equity industry to remain agile to changing market conditions.”

Looking at fund-raising activity, Van Lill says that pension and endowment funds were the source of 40.2% of all third-party funds raised during 2016 — up from 35.3% in 2015. Of the funds raised from South African sources, 53% (R4-billion) were from pension and endowment funds — noticeably up from R3.2-billion in 2015 (41%).

“It is encouraging to see more pension funds allocating capital to the private equity asset class as raising the profile of the asset class amongst institutional investors is, and will continue to be, a strong focus for Savca.”

“This year’s overall survey results highlight that despite the harsh economic environment currently facing South Africa, the private equity asset class continues to contribute positively to economic growth in the country through its commitment to and investment in portfolio companies and resultant job creation,” concludes van Lill.