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PRIVATE equity investment company Universal Partners has announced its intention to list, although it does not yet have any assets into which to pump the R1bn it plans to raise from the initial public offering.

The Mauritian-based company said on Monday it would seek a secondary listing on the JSE’s alternative exchange, AltX, after raising £80m from the private placing of its shares.

The fledgling company — it was incorporated and registered in Mauritius just three months ago — has already secured £60m of this amount from anchor investors such as Global Capital; a consortium that includes Universal Partners chief financial officer David Vinokur and Investec Bank; Richmark Holdings; and Credo Wealth.

Richmark is an investment holding company led by Gavin Varejes, while Credo Wealth is an adviser with £2bn in assets under administration.

Vinokur said three Universal Partners executives would collectively pledge "at least R75m".

"The money raised will be transferred to Mauritius on listing and will be converted into (British pounds)," said Vinokur. "These funds will be invested into a combination of short-term money market, fixed deposits, and negotiable certificate of deposit instruments earning interest, until such time that appropriate investments are found."

This marks a departure from Ethos Private Equity, which is listing a separate vehicle, Ethos Capital Partners, to give mass market investors access to new and existing funds.

"There are currently no investments in Universal," Vinokur said.

"We made a strategic decision not to make any investments prior to listing in order to avoid any perception that the founding shareholders were getting any benefit on listing."

Vinokur said Universal Partners had a pipeline of potential investments, and planned to make its first investment within six months of listing.

"Universal’s primary objective is to achieve strong capital appreciation in (British pounds) over the medium to long term by investing in high-quality, cash-generative companies that meet the investment criteria set out in the company’s investment policy," he said.

It would also be an active shareholder in investee companies. Universal Partners is on an investor roadshow.

It intends to open its private placement on August 4. He said Universal Partners had received positive feedback during its meetings with investors.

The company wants to invest 80% of the cash raised in unlisted companies across Europe, specifically in the UK, with the rest of the funds earmarked for investment elsewhere.

Vinokur said he did not think the listing meant that traditional private equity was dying.

"We believe there will always be a place for the existing private equity model, especially in relation to where money is raised from institutional investors," he said.

Universal Partners to list on AltX and then seek investments

This article was originally published on Business Day