About Ethos

Building Better Businesses for over 35 Years

Ethos is widely considered to be one of the most experienced and successful private equity investment houses in Africa.

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Founded in 1984, Ethos pioneered South African private equity, concluding the first private equity-led acquisitions in the country.

Ethos is pursuing a growth vision; evolving from being the leading private equity manager in South Africa to becoming the leading alternative asset manager in Africa. As such, since 2016 Ethos has launched a Mid Market Fund, a Mezzanine Fund, and an Ai Fund.

Furthermore, in 2016, Ethos launched Ethos Capital, a permanent capital vehicle listed on the JSE, designed to offer investors long-term capital appreciation by investing in a diversified portfolio of unlisted investments managed by Ethos.

Ethos seeks to leverage its understanding of all sub-Saharan African markets to target companies best positioned to benefit from the region’s unique growth dynamics. As an active investor, Ethos 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 comprises two primary investment strategies:

Our private equity business is divided into Large Equity and Mid Market funds. Ethos is currently capital raising an innovative artificial intelligence offering, Ethos Ai Fund I – which will predominantly invest alongside other Ethos-managed funds to unlock big data through algorithmic decision making.  The Fund has held the first closing and is actively investing.

Ethos Mid Market Fund I successfully held its final close in 2018 at R2.52bn, exceeding its target.

Our recently formed mezzanine division offers credit and mezzanine funding following Ethos’ acquisition of Mezzanine Partners. Ethos Mezzanine Partners 3 held its final close in 2019 and has already made its’ first investment, into Malawian Chibuku Products.

Investment criteria for our actively investing Funds can be viewed here:

Ethos’ long-term success has been a result of institutionalising a set of core competencies which underpin our investment approach. This approach has been refined to provide a flexible strategy, tailored to investing within the South African and sub-Saharan African markets.

Growth is a central principle of Ethos’ strategy.

Value is created by actively transforming the strategy, operations and finances of investee businesses, making them “best-in-class”. Through pioneering thought leadership, creativity, and innovation, Ethos has developed a long track record of sustainable, superior investor returns.

Ethos represents a unique combination of skill, innovation and stability. The existing partners have a combined 200 years of private equity experience, of which over 170 years has been at Ethos.

Ethos has made 108 acquisitions since 1984 of which 96 have been successfully realised. This unique history has inspired a distinctive approach and driven Ethos’ success.

Ethos’ value proposition includes:

  • a leading position in the market
  • a superior and consistent track record
  • a highly experienced and stable team – the largest in sub-Saharan Africa
  • unparalleled deal sourcing and a reutation for credibility and integrity
  • flexible, innovative strategy
  • significant hands-on involvement
  • commitment to transformation and diversity
  • commitment to, and alignment with, investors
Message from our CEO

Stuart MacKenzie

Chief Executive Officer

At the time of the RMI and RIM investment into Ethos in 2017, chief executive, Stuart MacKenzie said:

“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. 

To date, we have successfully closed a mid-market fund, launched a mezzanine fund and are preparing to go to market with our seventh large buyout fund.  In addition, we have supported this diversification strategy through listing Ethos Capital, a permanent capital vehicle focused on investing in our funds, on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. 

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.

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.”