June 8, 2020 / 7:42 AM / a month ago

Ninety One launches $600 mln fund targeting South African firms hit by COVID-19

JOHANNESBURG, June 8 (Reuters) - Asset manager Ninety One has launched a 10-billion-rand ($597 million) fund, in partnership with a private equity firm, that will target investments in South African businesses struggling due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The fund aims to raise money from institutional investors in two rounds, with the first closing in July, and will comprise a mix of debt and equity, Ninety One said.

It did not specify what type or size of firms it might target, saying many good companies across all sectors would have funding needs that could not be provided by banks or the state.

"The SA Recovery Fund is a market-led, impact initiative to mitigate the negative economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, while seeking a commercial return," Ninety One CEO Hendrik du Toit said.

He added that South Africa faced a "once-in-a-generation" economic challenge. The South African Reserve Bank expects the country's economy, which tipped into recession in 2019 even before the pandemic hit, to contract by 7% this year, hurting many already struggling businesses and consumers.

Ninety One is partnering with Ethos Private Equity on the fund.

$1 = 16.7493 rand Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Pravin Char

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