EMPOWERMENT: NEF Gets All Starry Eyed
Recent Western Cape Business News
SUNSPACE and Information Systems, a Stellenbosch-based manufacturer of satellite systems, has secured a R50 million empowerment agreement with the influential National Empowerment Fund (NEF).
SunSpace, which is associated with the University of Stellenbosch, is the country’s sole manufacturer of satellite systems – specialising in high value small and medium-sized satellite systems for the local and international aerospace market.
SunSpace is the builder of the Sumbandilasat microsatellite that was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan recently.
The empowerment deal essentially sees the NEF investing directly into SunSpace in support of a BEE consortium – Dusty Moon - that owns 25% of the company’s equity.
The investment is aimed at increasing capacity and improving SunSpace’s competitiveness in the rapidly-developing aerospace market.
What the transaction does provide for is an option for the NEF to become a 30% shareholder in SunSpace within the next five years, which would bring the company’s black ownership to 55%.
NEF’s willingness to enter hi-tech waters is not that surprising. The entity’s 2008 annual report shows that ICT and media investments represented nearly 14% of investments made in the 2007/2008 financial year.
NEF’s participation at SunSpace may also be a bit of corporate coup as CBN has heard that other potential suitors – including JSE listed John Daniel Holdings – were interested in buying into the company.
SunSpace, though, seems happy with the NEF’s deep pocketed commitment.
NEF says the SunSpace deal is one of a series of recent investments aimed at “rapidly increasing” black participation in strategic industries and enterprises.
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