Ethos leads investment in African minerals

Ethos Private Equity and Old Mutual Private Equity have invested in the African Northern Cape-based lime and calcium processing plant Idwala Industrial, for a reported 44 % stake. The deal represented an exit for the Tisco Group and RMB Ventures.

South African private equity firms Ethos Private Equity and Old Mutual Private Equity have invested an undisclosed amount for a reported 44 percent stake in Idwala Industrial.

Idwala , the Zulu word for “rock” or “stone”, produces processed lime, calcium carbonate and other industrial chemicals used in the gold, base metals, chemical and pulp industries.

“The company has well established state of the art production facilities and access to very substantial deposits of limestone which are crucial to the mining and energy sectors and play a key role in the fight against pollution,” Ethos partner, Anthonie de Beer, said in a statement.

Idwala was formed in 1998 as a result of an Ethos led management buyout of listed Alpha Limited’s lime and industrial minerals assets. In April 2004, Idwala was purchased by a consortium led by the Tiso Group and including Rand Merchant Bank Private Equity.

Idwala: The Zulu word
for “Rock” or “Stone”

The latest investment came from Ethos Fund V, which closed on $750 million in 2006, and Old Mutual Private Equity Fund II. Nedbank Capital arranged and underwrote the funding package. Nedbank Capital, Rand Merchant Bank and Mezzanine Partners will continue to be the main funders to Idwala, the firm said.

The transaction has facilitated Tiso’s exit from Idwala, although the group remains the largest individual shareholder and its partner Nkululeko Sowazi will continue to be chairman of the Idwala board.

RMB Ventures also exited its four year investment in the firm as a result of the transaction.