CEDA says it is privy to the challenges that its multi-million 10 year venture capital fund faces, but revealed that the board is behind the fund manager.
┬áSince its inception in 2003, CVCF has funded a number of projects across the sectors of the economy, but a number of them faced difficulties that included recession and shareholder problems.
┬á“We have had problems with the project they (fund manager) have financed,” Thabo Thamane, CEDA new Chief Executive Officer told The Telegraph at a recent media briefing.
┬á“But the agreement with the manager is that by the end of fund, they need to give us a return on investment,” he added.
┬áThe 10-year P200 million CVCF or CEDA Venture Capital Fund that came with the inflow of venture capital industry became the pioneer of the industry as it came with the creation of successful fund managers like VPB.
VPB, which was by then called Venture Partners Botswana, became the managers, but the fund has since been in-sourced and new projects will be appraised by an in-house Structured Finance Team, which include a former employee of VPB.
CVCF objective is to provide risk capital by way of equity and / or quasi-equity and other debt instruments to private companies in Botswana. It has a 10-year life and invests for a period of 3 to 7 years.
The contract with the fund manager is expected to expire in August 2013.
The fund has been successful in its mandate, but recession and other difficulties affected its performance.
“We have a number of businesses that face challenges. The belief is to see by 10th year businesses financed by the fund grow and diversify the economy,” added Thamane.
According to CEDA’s 2008/ 9 annual report, the financial year of March 2009 marked the end of another year of operations of the fund, which also included the end of the investment period of the fund.
┬áThe annual report revealed that since inception, 404 projects with a value of P3.75 billion were assessed┬ábut only 20 were approved.┬á
The agency said the fund has fully committed its capital to proposed investments and as a result saw reduced activity in the origination of new investments.
CEDA has now established structured finance division and new transactions that were in the pipeline were handed to the Fund Manager at the agency.
┬áTwo portfolios that faced difficulties included the selling of tobacco plant for P5 million and problems with Mabele Breweries, which was set up as a sorghum beer manufacture.
┬áThe other notable failures include busting of flower factory and shareholders difficulties with the condom manufacturing factory.