Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

In a surprising listing application, Brainworks, a Mauritian-based investment company with a diversified Zimbabwean investment portfolio, has made a submission for a place on the JSE’s main board.

Brainworks founder and nonexecutive director George Manyere said on Tuesday the company was listing a portfolio of premium Zimbabwe-based assets for improved access to capital — both debt and equity.

"We believe a listing on the JSE will provide the platform for us to access deeper and more liquid capital markets in South Africa, thereby affording us greater financial flexibility to grow our business," he said.

A Brainworks spokesman said the amount of capital to be raised at listing was still to be decided. "It’s a bit of a moving target. We are starting today [Tuesday] with investor road shows, which will extend to Johannesburg, Cape Town and the UK."

Brainworks’ investment interests comprise mainly a 57.7% interest in hotel investment company African Sun, listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE); a 66.8% stake in real estate company Dawn Properties; a 31.1% holding in ZSE-listed microfinance institution GetBucks; 49% of mobile money transfer platform GetCash; and 100% of life assurance company GetSure.

Brainworks’ gross assets topped $151m at the end of 2016 with revenue generated coming in at $48m.

Market watchers described the listing application as "interesting" — noting the JSE already played host to Namibian-focused investment house Trustco and the recently listed Africa-focused exchange traded fund AMI Big 50. The only other Zimbabwean company on the JSE is Hwange Colliery, which maintains a secondary listing.

Lentus Asset Management chief investment officer Nic Norman-Smith said the market had lately shown an appetite for investment companies.

"This offers investors an opportunity to add something with a higher risk profile to their portfolios," said Norman-Smith.

Brainworks CEO Brett Childs said proceeds from the listing would be used to bolster the group’s balance sheet.

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