African Rainbow Capital, founded by South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe, is switching to investing in digital banks and financial startups, while shunning mining stocks, saying the boom in commodity prices maybe overdone.
The firm, which manages assets valued at R14 billion ($935 million), sold its stake in Afrimat Ltd., a supplier of construction materials, industrial minerals and bulk commodities such as iron ore. ARC is also cutting its exposure to stakes in property firms, citing saturation in high-end real estate markets in South Africa and the UK.
“People are struggling to pay and we see lots of people defaulting on payments on houses, and homes are being repossessed by banks,” ARC Co-Chief Executive Officer Johan van Zyl said in an interview. “Of all the businesses, we will probably put more money into financial services into the future, and will probably take a little bit off the table in mining, and property.”
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s index of industrial metals and mining stocks has jumped 10-fold in the six years to 2021. That compares with a 45% advance in the banking index, prompting ARC to cut its mining investments and plow the gains into banks. The volatility in commodity markets — the Bloomberg Commodity Spot index earlier this month posted the largest one-week price increase in data going back more than 60 years — is also spooking some investors.
ARC owns a controlling stake in TymeBank, a digital lender founded by Motsepe, and has acquired a 37% stake in fintech startup Crossfin Technology Holdings. The company is also betting on high-speed telecommunication services, one of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s key agendas.