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COMPANY:

Universal Industries

YEAR: 2011
BUSINESS DESCRIPTION: Manufacturing and distribution of industrial equipment
INVESTMENT PARTNERS: Management
ENTERPRISE VALUE (R'M): R1,3bn

Pot of Gold

When a deal has all the right ingredients, there's no need to chase rainbows.

Ethos has successfully led a consortium to acquire and delist Universal Industries, at an enterprise value of R1.3bn.

The consortium comprises Ethos Fund V, management and directors of Universal, with a residual shareholding in reserve for a black economic empowerment partner.

Universal is a leading equipment supplier to the perishable food retail, wholesale, hospitality and related industries, through well-established underlying businesses (baking systems, catering and kitchen equipment, and refrigeration systems).

The company has invested for many years in its Africa strategy and has an active plan to rapidly expand its activities, in partnership with major South African retailers, into the rest of the continent.

"This is an extremely attractive investment, in partnership with a highly regarded management team," comments Ethos partner Shaun Zagnoev. "Universal has considerable potential, with a leading share of the local market, powerful brands and exciting sub-Saharan growth prospects."

"Value will be unlocked by enhancing operational efficiencies, augmenting market share and directing substantial resources towards the burgeoning African opportunity," adds Ethos Principal, Samantha Pokroy.

The transaction was the first public-to-private deal announced in South Africa, under the new Companies Act.

Ethos' 26 year track record is founded on our ability to source proprietary transactions and blend innovation with thoughtful management to create long-term value. The fusion of these magic ingredients results in superior performance and ultimately builds better businesses.

October 2011