Ethan Dube. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Ethan Dube. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

Black-owned financial services and investment company Vunani is bullish about its private-equity investments for the 2018 financial year — especially its coal-mining investments and for further African expansion.

In the financial year to end-February, the private equity segment was one of the star performers for Vunani.

The division racked up a profit of R15.2m compared with just R1.2m in the previous financial year with the coal-trading operations performing strongly. Revenue more than doubled from R10.1m to R23.6m with the portfolio growing 27% to R133m. Significant profits were generated from coal investments.

Vunani CEO Ethan Dube — writing in the recently released annual report – said the company intended to focus on maximising revenue and profit from the coal mining sector.

But he conceded that there were challenges in this sector from fluctuations in commodity prices and the value of the rand. "As much as possible, this has been allowed for in both operational planning and budgeting."

Dube said Vunani would also focus on extending its investment footprint in Africa. In the last financial year a scratch-card lottery business was started in Zambia. The coal mining and African thrust should unlock value and generate cash for Vunani. Interestingly, Dube indicated that the private equity segment would also look to rebuild its property portfolio.

Vunani had enjoyed significant success in this sector historically, he said. It was an anchor investor in Vunani Properties, which now trades as Texton Property on the JSE.

Vunani’s private equity segment has direct investments in the JSE and in steel group BSI. Investments in coal mining are held by Vunani Mining, which owns 37.5% of Black Wattle Colliery and 33.3% of Butsanani Energy Investment Holdings. Coal trading operations are held under Vunani Resources, while property ventures are housed under Vunani Mion Properties.

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