US PRIVATE EQUITY FIRM TO INVEST R692BN IN STARTUPS

J Sassoon Group, a US private and equity investment firm, is keen to invest $50 billion (R692bn) in ’emerging, entrepreneurial and innovative’ businesses involved in transportation, infrastructure and particularly in renewable energy in South Africa. The company’s chairman, David Sassoon, who made the announcement recently, said the investment will be spread over a period of five years.

Sassoon pointed out that, in its approach, the Group bucks the trend of other private equity firms. Instead of focusing on the exit strategy and immediate gain, it takes a long-term view. “We are long-term investors. We typically invest for 15-30 years,” he said.

“We invest in firms that are start-ups and entrepreneurs who often have some of the fundamentals, such as developing a business plan, that can be considered by western conventional finance houses such as Credit Suisse or Goldman Sachs,” he added.

The Group works works with start-ups from the stage of the business plan or feasibility study, enabling them with marketing, business development and operations.

A few weeks ago, Sassoon’s pumped $20 million into a South African 100 percent black-owned energy start-up, Bluedrop Energy. The funding was for the construction of a ‘state of-the-art’ LPG cylinder manufacturing plant.

Sassoon said the group cherry-picked South Africa as it is the fastest-growing country in Africa, with the most robust and largest economy, as well as a stable and well-regulated financial sector.

J Sassoon Group, which is more than 500 years old, is the world’s oldest independent family-owned investment firm.

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