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Success comes from finding the right partnerships
We provide growth capital to high-potential businesses in the United Kingdom and Europe.
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We partner with
high-potential businesses
We take a partnership-led approach.
The investments we make are based on mutual trust and a shared vision for growth.
Universal Partners is an investment holding company with a primary listing on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius and a secondary listing on the JSE’s Alternative Exchange (South Africa). We invest in growth businesses in the United Kingdom and Europe. Our objective is to achieve strong capital appreciation for our shareholders, to achieve this we partner with organisations where we can add strategic value. We are patient investors with a permanent capital structure.
Our investment strategy
We seek meaningful
participation in our investments
We are focused on acquiring and building successful businesses across a broad range of sectors where we have the experience to add value.

Our approach is to take an active shareholding in the businesses we invest in, in order to enable meaningful participation in the formulation and execution of the business strategy. We look for investments that require an equity contribution of between £10 million and £20 million and where we are able to secure a significant minority stake in the business (25% to 49%).
Dentex Healthcare Group Limited
Offers a unique clinician-led partnership model, enabling it to roll-out and support a network of dental practices
Business description
Sector
Investment partners
Investment
Date of investment
Shareholding
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Company name
Dentex Healthcare Group Limited
Business description
UK dental partnership
Sector
Healthcare services
Investment partners
Universal Partners
Dentex management
Investment
£15 million
Date of investment
April 2017
Shareholding
36 - 49%
A good reason to smile
The UK dental services market is growing. While National Health Services (NHS) dentistry covers the basic treatments necessary to maintain oral health, private dentistry plays an increasingly vital role as customers seek more aesthetic dental interventions.
The dental care service market was worth £6.5 billion in 2015, of which £4.4 billion came from NHS dentistry and the remaining £2.1 billion from private dentistry. It is expected that the market will reach £7.5 billion by 2020, and most of the increase will be driven by private dentistry due to NHS cost-saving and related restriction of access.

Recognising the sector’s impressive growth potential, Universal Partners made a £15 million investment in Dentex Healthcare Group Limited in April 2017.

Dentex is a dental partnership group with a highly experienced management team. The company has a unique clinically led partnership model, which encourages clinical excellence profitability. Dentex has the capacity to roll out and support a substantial network of dental practices, and has strategically partnered with several leading dentists in order to invest in practices that deliver sustainable cash flow generation, predominantly in the growing private dental market.

While there are a number of dental corporates in the UK, they only account for approximately 10% of the total dental market. However, Dentex is the only corporate that truly partners with clinicians by keeping them invested in their business, and by providing them with the assistance to build their business and create wealth for themselves.

Universal Partners always looks to partner with experienced management and is excited to work with Dentex CEO, Barry Lanesman. Barry is a registered Dentist who built two medical finance businesses in Australia. One of these businesses became a full transactional banking operation with a unique value proposition, which was later acquired by Investec Bank and subsequently absorbed into the Bank of Queensland. Barry has recently recruited Brent Zurowski as the CFO of Dentex, who he worked with for twenty years in Australia building innovative, client centric businesses in the dental market.

Universal Partners’ initial £4 million secured a 36 per cent shareholding in Dentex, while an additional £11 million in convertible loan notes will enable it to increase its shareholding to 49 per cent. Universal Partners has invested equity alongside management and strategic partners to fund Dentex’s investment into further practices. Dentex’s management will own 18% of the ordinary equity post Universal Partners’ ordinary equity subscription.

Universal Partners’ investment in Dentex is in line with its strategy to invest in high potential businesses in the United Kingdom. Dentex’s business model demonstrates longterm growth potential in a growing sector.

David Vinokur and Justin Rodrigues from Universal Partners are members of the Dentex board.
YASA
Patented a range of electric motors, generators and controllers for hybrid vehicles
Business description
Sector
Investment partners
Investment
Date of investment
Shareholding
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Company name
YASA
Business description
Manufacturer of electrical motors, generators and controllers
Sector
Automotive manufacturing (motors), aviation, trains and other industrial applications
Investment partners
Universal Partners
Parkwalk Advisers
Oxford University Innovations
Investment
£11.3 million
Date of investment
August 2017
Shareholding
26.25%
Driving a sustainable future
In a bid to reduce air pollution and the associated health risks, European countries are increasingly looking to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles, and some vehicle manufacturers have committed to only making fully electric or hybrid cars in the future.
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, electric cars are likely to dominate the automotive market quicker than previously anticipated. Electric vehicles will make up 54% of all light-duty vehicle sales by 2040, up from the 35% share Bloomberg was forecasting previously.

France and the United Kingdom have announced their intention to end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 as part of its ambitious plans to meet targets under the Paris Climate Accord. Sweden’s Volvo said it would only make fully electric or hybrid cars from 2019 onwards. Similar ambitious plans are underway in Norway (which has the highest penetration of electric cars in the world), the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Further abroad, China and India have indicated that they too are scaling back the sale of petrol or diesel cars by 2030.

With its sights set on revolutionising electric motors, YASA has developed and commercialised a patented technology, enabling it to manufacture a range of electric motors, generators and controllers with superior performance characteristics. YASA’s motors and controllers are well suited to hybrid applications where limited space is available. In comparison to other technologies, the
YASA motors are smaller, lighter and easier to manufacture. They produce exceptionally high power and torque, as independently confirmed by a premier European automotive engineering consultancy.

YASA was spun out from research undertaken at Oxford University by YASA founder and Chief Technology Officer, Dr Tim Woolmer, and has commercialised its patented technology across a range of product areas over the last eight years. At the beginning of 2017, YASA opened its new production facility in Yarnton, Oxfordshire and has since looked to raise further funding to assist with the planned production scale-up for its growing customer base.

Further, YASA’s highly experienced management team and board of directors have extensive experience in building and managing companies in the automotive and industrial sectors.

The investment is in line with Universal Partners’ investment strategy to hold investments in innovative, high-quality growth businesses. Andrew Birrell will represent Universal Partners on the YASA board in the future.
SC Lowy Partners
High yield bond and distressed debt trading and investment business
Business description
Sector
Investment partners
Investment
Date of investment
Shareholding
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Company name
SC Lowy Partners
Business description
High yield bond and distressed debt trading and investment business
Sector
Financial
Investment partners
Universal Partners
Investec Bank
Investment
US$15 million
Date of investment
December 2017
Shareholding
5.1%
Creating value out of risk,
where others can't
SC Lowy is a high yield bond and distressed debt specialist. The firm facilitates primary issuance, secondary trading and investments with a primary focus on corporate bonds, loans, trade claims and special situations. SC Lowy’s in-house analysts cover the energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, telecommunications, media, metals, mining, financials, shipping and real estate sectors for issuers based in Australia, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The business is headquartered in Hong Kong, with a team of investment professionals based in London, Milan, Seoul and New York. SC Lowy has built a global client network of over 800 international and regional banks, asset managers, hedge funds, private equity and pension funds, family offices and corporations, who either hold or trade in these instruments.

SC Lowy is majority owned by the founders, Michel Löwy and Soo Cheon Lee. As an owner managed business, SC Lowy fits the Universal Partners investment profile of investing in owner managed businesses which require growth capital to deliver their strategy.

Michel Löwy and Soo Cheon Lee co-founded the business in 2009 and the company has delivered consistent growth in profitability over the last 8 years under their leadership. Michel and Soo Cheon are entrepreneurs with a proven track record of building and managing businesses in this space and have a long history of working together. Prior to founding SC Lowy, Michel led Deutsche Bank’s strategic investment group and built market-leading franchises in Asia, Japan and Latin America. Previously, he built Cargill’s Value Investment Group in Singapore and was an early investor in the Japanese Non Performing Loan (NPL) sector in the late 1990s. Soo Cheon was previously Managing Director and Head of in-house Research and Trading at Deutsche Bank’s Distressed Products Group in Asia Pacific, managing a diversified trading book, hard asset real estate holdings and significant distressed non-performing loan portfolios across Asia. Prior to his Deutsche Bank role, Soo Cheon was a senior research analyst at Cargill’s Value Investment Group, based in Singapore.

Universal Partners and the consortium will be represented on the SC Lowy Board of Directors by Gary Burg, the co-founder of Global Capital with Larry Nestadt. Andrew Birrell will be an alternate director to Gary Burg.

Propelair
Revolutionised
the flush toilet
Business description
Sector
Investment partners
Investment
Date of investment
Shareholding
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Company name
Propelair
Business description
A high-performance toilet and water efficient solution
Sector
Sanitation and sustainability
Investment partners
Universal Partners
Investec Bank
Sustainable Technology Investors
Investment
£1 million
Date of investment
July 2017
Shareholding
13%
Revolutionising sanitation
Water sustainability is fast emerging as one of the greatest global threats, with increasing population density placing pressure on some of the world’s most populated cities. The United Kingdom, with its dense population, is considered the most water-stressed large country in Europe. Elsewhere around the world, many cities are facing unprecedented water shortages.
In total European toilets currently flush away 102 billion litres of clean, potable water every day, enough to drain Lake Geneva every
twenty hours. Depending on the style of toilet, the average flush uses between 8 and 12 litres per flush.

Previous efforts to reduce the amount of water used for toilet flushing have had performance and convenience implications and, in the main, received poor reviews from users. Recognising the need for an alternative solution, which uses less water and performs better, inspired the development of Propelair.

Entrepreneur Garry Moore launched the Propelair 1.5 litre flush toilet in 2011. Propelair is a high-performance toilet and water efficient solution that uses air to push waste, making it compatible with normal drain systems.

As well as saving water, it reduces the energy used in processing the waste and its sealed lid reduces the spread of airborne contaminants that may be released when flushing a regular toilet. Propelair’s powerful flush also eliminates blockages in areas of extreme high usage.

Propelair’s client list includes high-profile brands such as Network Rail, Thames Water and Barclays Bank.

Seeing the potential for Propelair to revolutionise sanitation, whilst positively addressing water challenges, Universal Partners invested £1m into the business in July 2017. This business is going to require expansion capital in the future, which will enable Universal Partners to increase the quantum and percentage shareholding of its investment. Universal Partners will work closely with management and strategic partner, Investec Bank, to deliver the business plan.

Universal Partners’ Andrew Birrell sits on the board of directors and has played an active role in the recruitment of a new chief executive who will work with the founder, Garry Moore, to take the business to the next level. Further Universal Partners will introduce the business to potential commercial customers through its extensive network and relationships.

Universal Partners’ investment in Propelair is in line with its investment strategy to invest in businesses that demonstrate a right to win, and where it can meaningfully participate in the formulation and execution of the business strategy going forward.
We grow
successful businesses
We are seasoned investment specialists, with a track record of successfully growing businesses and delivering shareholder value.
As former investment bankers and business owners, we are adept at helping the businesses we partner with deliver sustainable growth.

Our strong global investor network enables us to successfully invest in high-growth businesses, and our ethos means that we only seek to partner with organisations where we believe we can add strategic value.
Our Executive Team
Pierre Joubert
Chief Executive Officer
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Pierre Joubert
Chief Executive Officer
Nationality
South African (permanently relocating to Mauritius)
Pierre is the chief executive officer of Universal Partners. Prior to joining Universal Partners, he was the chief investment officer of the Richmark Group of companies, which he joined in November 2015. Previously, he spent 13 years at Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), fulfilling various roles including senior transactor in the Corporate Finance division, head of Equities and co-head of the Global Markets division. Pierre is a member of the RMB Investment committee, a position he has held for 15 years. He is also a member of the Ashburton Private Equity Fund 1 investment committee. Previously, Pierre held various executive positions at Connection Group Holdings Ltd including that of CEO of Connection Group for four years, leading the successful turnaround of the business that culminated in the group being bought by JD Group Ltd. In his early career, Pierre worked for various companies in the Reunert Ltd group after completing his articles with Deloitte.

Pierre holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
David Vinokur
Chief Financial Officer
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David Vinokur
Chief Financial Officer
Nationality
South African
David is the chief financial officer of Universal Partners. He is also the CEO of Global Capital (Pty) Ltd. David has more than 13 years of private equity experience. During his career, he has been instrumental in originating, structuring, concluding and exiting private equity transactions in a variety of industries and countries. He represents the global funds and investment consortiums on the board of the underlying companies both locally and offshore, and assists with the strategic management of the investments. After completing his articles at PricewaterhouseCoopers, David was certified as a chartered accountant and became a member of South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. Following this David joined Global Capital in February 2004; his portfolio consists of a diverse range of private companies in a variety of industries.

David holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and Bachelor of Accounting degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.
Andrew Birrell
Executive Director
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Andrew Birrell
Executive Director
Nationality
British/South African
Andrew has over 26 years’ experience in various executive and non-executive roles, across
the life insurance, general insurance, health insurance, stock broking, asset management, and retail online banking industries, in South Africa, the UK, Scandinavia, Canada, Ireland and Australia. His most recent role was as CFO of Guardian Financial Services, a Cinven sponsored UK life insurance consolidator that was sold to Swiss Re in early January 2016. Previous roles include Group Chief Actuary and Group CRO of Old Mutual plc, CRO of
Old Mutual South Africa Ltd, COO and CFO of Investec Securities Ltd and CFO of Capital Alliance Holdings Ltd and Capital Alliance Life Ltd. He is the chairman of Assupol Life and Assupol Holdings in South Africa, and also serves on the boards of Investec Life, Dentex Health, Yasa Motors and Propelair. Andrew is a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, United Kingdom and Actuarial Society of South Africa. He is a Chartered Enterprise Risk Actuary (CERA).

Andrew holds a Bachelor of Business Science, Actuarial from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Our Board and Investment Committee
Larry Nestadt
Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Board
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Larry Nestadt
Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Board
Nationality
South African
Larry Nestadt has a long and successful global corporate career. He is a co-founder and former executive director of Investec Bank Ltd. Larry has been instrumental in the creation and strategic development of a number of listed companies including Capital Alliance Holdings Ltd (Capital Alliance Life - acquired by Liberty Life; Capital Alliance Bank - now Brait), Super Group Ltd, HCI Ltd, SIB Holdings Ltd, CorpGro Ltd and Global Capital Ltd. He also served as past chairman on the boards of these companies. Previously, Larry sat on
the boards of Softline Ltd, JCI Ltd and Abacus Technologies Holdings Ltd. Further, he has been a former chairman on a number of non-listed company boards both in South Africa and abroad including Stenham Ltd (UK) and Prefsure Life Ltd (AUS). Larry is the current executive chairman of Global Capital (Pty) Ltd and the current chairman of Blue Label Telecoms Ltd, Dis-Chem Pharmacies Ltd, National Airways Corporation (Pty) Ltd, the Morecorp Group, Melrose Motor Investments (Pty) Ltd and SellDirect Marketing (Pty) Ltd. He also serves as deputy chairman of Cell C (Pty) Ltd.

Larry is a life member of the World Presidents Organisation, Lloyds of London (since 1983) and is an honorary colonel in the South African Air force.
Marc Ooms
Independent Non-executive Director
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Marc Ooms
Independent Non-executive Director
Nationality
Belgian
Marc Ooms was general partner of the Petercam Group, a Benelux investment
bank. He was also the managing director of Petercam Belgium N.V. and chairman of Petercam Bank Nederland. He retired in 2011 at the age of 60. Marc is a member
of the board of directors of the following companies: Sea-Invest Corporation, Luxemburg (the largest European stevedoring group in bulk and fruit which is also active
in Africa); BMT International NV (gears, transmissions, aeronautics, moulds for the glass industry); Greenyard Foods NV (world leader in distribution of fresh, frozen and canned food, listed on Euronext); Baltisse NV (a private equity fund with €2 billion under management); and The Fruit Farm Group NV (fruit farms in Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Suriname, Turkey and South Africa).

Marc is a graduate of the VLEKHO Business School, Brussels.
Neil Page
Independent Non-executive Director
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Neil Page
Independent Non-executive Director
Nationality
South African
Neil started his career with Ford Motor Company prior to entering the banking industry in 1978. He has extensive commercial banking experience including retail, corporate and international banking. He specialised in private equity in 1985, when he joined the MBO division of Barclays Merchant Bank (which subsequently became Firstcorp Capital, the forerunner of Ethos Private Equity (Pty) Ltd. In 1989 Neil co-founded what is today RMB Corvest, a leading private equity investor in South Africa. Neil has been the managing director RMB Corvest since its inception. Neil sits on the boards of various RMB Corvest investee companies, and the boards of the subsidiary companies making up the RMB Corvest Group of Companies. Neil has been a member of the RMB investment committee for a number of years, a position he continues to hold.

Neil holds a Bachelor of Commerce and CAIB (SA), Dip SAIM from Port Elizabeth Technikon, South Africa.
Andrew Dunn
Non-Executive
Director
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Andrew Dunn
Non-Executive
Director
Nationality
South African
Andrew is the group CEO of Richmark Holdings and executive chairman of DNI. He started his career in 1994 by founding Miltrans, a logistics business that he later sold to Super Group. On leaving Super Group he joined the Premier Foods MBO, which was later sold to Brait S.A. Andrew jointly founded DNI in 2006. He was appointed as the group CEO of Richmark Holdings in February 2013. Andrew sits on the boards of Transport Solutions and National Airways Corporation.

Andrew holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Peter Gain
Independent Non-executive Director
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Peter Gain
Independent Non-executive Director
Nationality
United Kingdom resident
Peter is a seasoned entrepreneur who over the past twenty years has built numerous successful businesses. During his career he has led a number of significant corporate transactions including fund raisings, listings, asset sales, mergers and group restructurings in various sectors. These include mining and resources, agriculture and food processing, warehousing and logistics, telecoms and media, dental and medical services, financial services and funds management. Peter is the chairman of Draper Gain Investments Ltd, and a director of various privately held investment companies around the world.

Peter holds a Bachelor of Business Science from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Françoise Chan
Non-Executive
Director
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Françoise Chan
Non-Executive
Director
Nationality
Mauritian
Françoise is an executive director of Intercontinental Trust Ltd. Since 1994 Françoise has assisted multinationals, fund managers and high net worth individuals in the structuring and administration of companies, funds and trusts in Mauritius. Françoise previously held senior positions in a management company, which was the local representative firm of Arthur Andersen in the International Banking Division of Barclays Bank Plc. Françoise is a member of both the International Fiscal Association (IFA) and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and serves as director on the board of several Global Business companies.

Françoise holds a DEA in banking and finance and she holds a Maîtrise in Econometrics from the University of Paris 1 Sorbonne, France. She also holds a Magistere d’Economie from the University of Paris 1 Sorbonne in conjunction with ULM et L’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales of Paris, France.
Kesaven Moothoosamy
Non-Executive
Director
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Kesaven Moothoosamy
Non-Executive
Director
Nationality
Mauritian
Kesaven is an executive director of Perigeum Capital Ltd. Prior to this he was a senior manager of the Capital Markets Advisory team of Intercontinental Trust Ltd, a position he held until June 2016. For 12 years he has gained experience in fund formation and administration, fund accounting, Mauritius regulatory matters, investment structuring, transaction advisory, capital raising and listing on securities exchanges. Kesaven is actively involved in various initiatives to enhance the attractiveness of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius Ltd (SEM). He is also a board member of SEM listed companies and a number of global businesses established in Mauritius. Kesaven is a fellow member of the Association of Chartered Certi ed Accountants UK (FCCA), a member of the Mauritius Institute of Professional Accountants (MIPA) and Member of the Mauritius Institute of Directors (MiOD).

Kesaven holds a BSc (Hons) in Accounting Information Systems, from the University of Mauritius.
Investor Relations
Corporate Governance
News and reports
Press
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The Board endorses the code of corporate practices and conduct as set out in the Code of Corporate Governance for Mauritius (“the Code”). The disclosures included in this review are consistent with the requirements of the Code. Independent consultants have been made available to members of the board to ensure that all directors are fully conversant with best practice and current thinking with regards to corporate governance.

Please download the following documents for more information about Universal Partners.

Business Day 2016-08-10

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Universal Partners is an investment holding company listed on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM) with a secondary listing on the Alternative Exchange of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Limited (AltX).