Happiness Zengeni Business Editor
George Manyere, the former Brainworks Capital chief executive, has re-emerged in the investment finance field as the controlling shareholder of Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed Ecsponent group.
Ecsponent is an investment services group with multiple subsidiaries and a footprint across South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Zambia and Namibia. It is listed on the JSE’s main board under Financial Services-Specialty Finance sector.
Mr Manyere, who stepped down as Brainworks Capital CEO early this year, holds over 42 percent of the group which has access to a R5 billion JSE-approved preference share programme. To date the group has invested R1 billion of the programme.
Mr Manyere through Mason Alexander first acquired almost 35 percent from Ecsponent Capital in September last year and increased it by 12,6 percent after it underwrote a R20,3 million rights issue.
Mr Manyere, known for aggressive acquisitions in sector leading enterprises, has taken up the position of vice chairman of the group while Patrick Matute was appointed to the board as non-executive director.
Ecsponent operates under three main pillars, namely; investment services, business credit and equity holdings. It was founded by John Daniel Holdings in 1995 and listed on the JSE as a venture capital company in 1998. As at March 31, 2017, the group’s total assets amounted to R1,2 billion and revenue at R321,8 million.
Ecsponent has since acquired 10 percent of MyBucks South Africa, the controlling shareholders of Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed GetBucks Microfinance Bank. In Zambia, the group through Ecsponent Financial Services Zambia, joined forces with GetBucks.
The transaction which is subject to approval by the Bank of Zambia will result in a dilution of the group’s interest to 25 percent in EFSZ.
Over the past 10 years, Mr Manyere was focused on building the Brainworks Capital portfolio. Brainworks has a presence in financial services, hospitality, real estate, logistics and advisory. It has grown to total shareholders’ equity up to more than $65 million. The company will soon list on the JSE.
Analysts say it’s more likely that the acquisition of a controlling stake will open up capital raising opportunities for potential acquisitions and investments in Zimbabwe and for Mr Manyere his experience at Brainworks gives him a strong base to build a strong portfolio in the region.