Maris is a permanent capital vehicle and its goal is to grow its holdings into a portfolio of multi-country businesses of scale across the African continent, led by excellent teams that operate to international standards. Operating as a permanent capital vehicle allows us to use the needs of the investee businesses, rather than pre-determined investment periods, to determine investment horizons. We focus on the African SME business size (<$10m EV) as businesses of this size offer the strongest growth potential and benefit the most from our direct involvement. Our investment approach has key attributes to ensure significant long term growth of the investee companies and the group as a whole, and our operating profile ensures this growth is achieved.
CRITICAL INVESTMENT CRITERIA
- We are focussed on 8 sub Saharan African countries that offer significant growth opportunity, and are a balance of oil dependent and more diversified countries
- We invest in 4 key strategic divisions that offer the most potential to the group; Property services, Business services, Mining and Agriculture and Forestry
- We target the “sweet spot” of African SME business size (<$10m EV) which offers strong growth potential, significant returns, less market competition from other financing organisations, and significant benefits through consolidation into larger entities
- We ensure control of our holdings; we currently have equity and management control of over 80% of our holdings
- We enter new markets slowly with small exposure, and increase over time as we strengthen networks and manage risk
- We ensure that our investments are asset backed; over 50% of all Maris NAV is in tangible physical assets, ranging from around 50% for Mining and Agriculture and Forestry to over 80% for Property Services and Business Services (excluding all resource assets, which are significant in the Mining and Agriculture and Forestry Divisions)
- We limit local currency exposure; 92% of the group revenues are either in USD$ or pegged to the USD$, and these are matched by 72% of expenses in USD$ while the balance is in local currency
- We ensure that a country’s cash generation potential matches the country risk and we phase projects where possible to ensure near term cash flow.
- We have a strong focus on social responsibility; through our people, community and environmental programmes we work to maximise the environmental and social benefit of our investments, alongside returns to shareholders
- All of our investee businesses adhere to the IFC performance standards
- We have a Management Team and Board with extensive operational and management experience in emerging and frontier markets, widespread networks both globally and within key markets, and a rigorous investment approach developed through decades of global investment experience. Many of Maris’ management have a decade or more of operational experience in Africa.
- We have deep expertise in the development of start ups as well as in the management of businesses through growth and expansion phases to ensure that we capture the full value of our businessesat lower cost
- Synergies across the group support each business’ growth and enable us to better manage local political, environmental or currency risks. Maris’ group footprint also enables lower risk regional expansion.
- We offer strong, hands on management support for each business, and provide back office support for finance, governance and human resources across multiple companies, to provide expertise, ensure consistency and offer cost reduction
PARTNERSHIP WITH BUSINESS OWNERS
Maris develops strong partnerships with business owners and founders, both through the co-founding of businesses as well as joining businesses in their growth and expansion phases. We strongly believe in developing a true partnership with the business owners/founders to help them achieve a shared long term vision for the business that they have created or grown. We generally do not “cash out” business owners, but instead structure our transactions to align interests and jointly share in the value that we can create together.
WHAT WE ARE NOT
Maris is not a private equity firm that looks for short term gains through buying and flipping its investments. Maris is not interested in investments that rely on financial engineering for quick gains.