PIC buys 25% stake in SA stock exchange ZAR X

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The Public Investment Corporation has made an equity investment in South African stock exchange, ZAR X, on behalf of the Government Employees Pension Fund.

The PIC acquired a 25% stake in the group, which has a trading value of R3.7 billion. The PIC also has an almost 10% holding in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

ZAR X aims to use technology to remove existing high barriers to entry, reduce costs, and save time while introducing new opportunities for investors.

It is the first additional stock exchange to launch in South Africa in over 60 years, and made its first listing in February 2017.

ZAR X CEO, Etienne Nel said the PIC’s acquisition of a shareholding in the exchange was a huge vote of confidence in its business model, and the joint venture will be to the advantage of all South Africans.

“ZAR X and the PIC share a common vision of promoting financial inclusion and stimulating developmental investment,” Nel said. “Both organisations also emphasise innovation in order to enable broad financial access and inclusion and to introduce long-awaited competition to grow the capital markets.”

“Having a partner of this stature and reputation positions ZAR X ideally to make a major impact on the sector.”

According to the PIC’s head of corporate affairs, Deon Botha, the transaction provides the government investment fund with an opportunity to own a portion of the stock exchange while giving it an alternative platform to trade and on which to list.

“This will further assist us in our resolve to bring about meaningful change in and transformation of the domestic capital markets and overall financial services industry landscape. We believe that transformation of this industry is necessary if we are to realise our long term objective of achieving real and tangible inclusive growth,” Botha said.