The Advisor: Ethos


Ethos Private Equity, the investment adviser, was founded in 1984 and has an established track record of investing in private equity transactions in South Africa and other sub-Saharan African countries. Ethos Private Equity targets control buyouts and selected expansion capital investments in companies with strong growth potential.


Ethos Private Equity employs over 65 members of staff, including 21 partners, which makes it the largest private equity firm in sub-Saharan Africa. An institutionalised approach to investing, world-class governance, extensive origination networks and an experienced investment team provide Ethos Private Equity with a competitive advantage in the sub-Saharan Africa private equity market.

Stuart MacKenzie

Chief Executive Officer

“Ethos’ institutional platform has been built and honed over a period of more than 30 years, six private equity funds, 105 transactions and 94 realisations. Three years ago, we commenced a diversification strategy that aimed to leverage this platform by launching a range of alternative asset funds.

The Ethos Capital listing, coupled with the launch of new Ethos Funds, enables the market to access a broad suite of actively-managed funds. It is important to appreciate that we are not seeking to change our business model but rather to broaden both the opportunity set we can invest in; and the universe of investors that can access the funds we manage. We will continue to raise capital from our existing investor base who will invest in our Funds alongside Ethos Capital.

It is important to appreciate that we are not seeking to change our business model but rather to broaden both the opportunity set we can invest in; and the universe of investors that can access the funds we manage. We will continue to raise capital from our existing investor base who will invest in our Funds alongside Ethos Capital.

Up to this point the strategic expansion of the Firm has been funded by its Partners. In order for us to accelerate the Firm’s growth in a sustainable way, we recognised the significant benefit of attracting strategic investors that would share our vision. The cultural affinity between the Ethos, RMI and RIM teams has been nurtured over many years of business collaboration. The RMI & RIM Consortium’s endorsement of our strategy will enable us to accelerate the realisation of our vision by opening new investor networks, providing asset management expertise and a focus on the accelerated transformation of our Firm.

Together, we share a vision of matching the best capital solutions with the best business ideas.”

  • implementing 105 transactions since 1984, investing over R11 billion during this period;
  • successfully exiting 95 investments, generating 36.3% gross realised IRR and 2.8x multiple of cost;
  • 77% of all realised investments by capital invested have returned greater than 2.0x invested capital;
  • since Ethos Fund III (the first Ethos Fund that attracted international investors), which was raised in 1996, Ethos Private Equity has generated 25.2% gross realised IRR and a 2.8x multiple of cost;
  • USD returns generated since Ethos Fund III have been 18.9% gross realised IRR and 2.2x multiple of cost
  • positioning itself as the lead investor on transactions with control or joint control stakes in the majority of its deals;
  • having an understanding of, and focus on, sub-Saharan Africa, predominantly driven through expansion of its investee companies;
  • implementing a theme-led approach with thorough evaluation of economic drivers and industry fundamentals; and
  • significant hands-on involvement in portfolio companies, leveraging its Value Add capability to optimise financial and operational performance of its investment companies.

Ethos Private Equity seeks to leverage its understanding of the South African and sub-Saharan African markets to target small- to mid-sized companies best positioned to benefit from the region’s unique growth dynamics. As an active investor, Ethos Private Equity has capitalised on its experience of owning businesses across a variety of investment, economic and political cycles to maximise value post-investment and generate superior returns.

Ethos Private Equity recently launched Ethos Mid Market Fund I, chaired by Sonja de Bruyn Sebotsa, and is in the process of raising capital for this Fund. Ethos Mid Market Fund I is a majority black-owned vehicle and its objective is to invest in private companies with market-leading positions, identifiable competitive advantage, strong cash flows and significant growth potential. While the key focus of Ethos Mid Market Fund I is on effecting investments in the mid-market space (which is expected to account for the majority of Ethos Mid Market Fund I’s capital), it will also co-invest as the B-BBEE partner alongside other Ethos Funds in certain transactions and benefit from facilitated B-BBEE transactions with companies that require a long-term B-BBEE partner that has capital to meet growth requirements.

Ethos Private Equity is also capital raising for Ethos Mezzanine Partners Fund 3 having acquired Mezzanine Partners, one of South Africa’s leading independent sources of mezzanine capital. Renamed Ethos Mezzanine Partners, the team manages closed-end mezzanine debt funds dedicated to providing equity sponsors and management teams in southern Africa with tailor-made term financing solutions that meet their intermediate capital funding requirements. Typically, its mezzanine investments fall into the following transaction categories: leveraged or management buyouts, recapitalisations, middle- to late-stage expansion or growth investments, acquisition finance, black economic empowerment transaction financings and special situations.

In September 2017, Ethos announced that it has reached agreement with RMI Investment Managers (‘RMI’) and Royal Investment Managers (‘RIM’) — together the ‘RMI & RIM Consortium’ — in terms of which, the RMI & RIM Consortium will invest behind Ethos’ growth strategy in a series of transactions that will result in them acquiring a combined stake of up to 30% in the Firm.  This transaction includes a vendor-facilitated BEE component that will ensure that 25% of the company continues to be owned by a broad base of historically disadvantaged shareholders (including Black Ethos executives, staff and the Ethos Educational Foundation Trust).  Read more about this investment here.

Ethos recently published its Sustainability Report for 2018, the document can be downloaded here: Ethos Sustainability Report 2018