Strategic Partnerships for Growth
Beryl Group emerged out of Beryl Capital, an investment entity created by Neverl Kambasha in 2004. Beryl Capital entered the market via the Business-Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry, which it identified as a low-cost niche. Due to the deregulation of the telecommunications sector that was underway in 2004, BPO proved to be an especially attractive sector. The company planned to provide bespoke Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) solutions to municipalities across South Africa and Africa, outsourcing its services to various partner-companies.
At a meeting with 28 high-level municipal representatives across Africa, Beryl Capital’s proposal was incredibly well received and was subsequently implemented over a 24-month period. During this period, Beryl Capital worked with 98 municipalities across Africa, generating USD 5-million in its first year. Beryl Capital’s BPO business came under high demand for the valuable service-level agreements it had in place.
In 2008, Beryl Capital was transformed into an investment firm. The firm bought minority equity stakes (15% to 20%) in 32 companies where it yielded mixed successes. As a minority stakeholder however, Beryl Capital had little leverage or influence in the control, management and dividend-policy of its investments and its stakes in these companies were too small for capital-raising purposes. The team decided to rethink its strategy and investigate new avenues of opportunity. During this time, Beryl Capital bought a controlling stake in the third largest GSM mobile-network in Malawi, and made several other telecoms investments beginning with a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe. This was partly inspired by a profound encounter with the renowned American Activist Jessie Jackson, who encouraged Neverl Kambasha to stop looking to the United States and Europe for funding and instead, start tapping into the vast resources available on African soil.
In 2008, the Zimbabwean economy was completely illiquid. The currency was devalued to such an extent that even the most basic transactions amounted to trillions of Zimbabwean dollars and as a result – crashed. Neverl turned this crisis into an opportunity.
By early 2012, Beryl Capital was ready to set up its own investment-holding company, independent from the previous portfolio, which it intended to preserve and maintain in its existing form. The team spent the rest of that year conducting extensive research and due diligence on potential candidate-companies for its new portfolio. After investigating 12 potential sectors, the team finally settled on what it considered to be the four main drivers of economic development. Within these four sectors, Beryl Capital identified partners with an established reputation of excellence in their respective industries. These year-long efforts yielded the establishment of Beryl Holdings Pty Ltd.
The Beryl Group is confident in the portfolio it has assembled under its banner. To accomplish set benchmarks, the Group approaches investments differently. Unlike the Beryl Capital portfolio, Beryl Group mostly holds a controlling stake in all the companies in which it has invested, with representation at the board and management levels. It owns 50% or more equity stake in these subsidiaries, with their partners owning the balance. Additionally, Beryl Group has specifically chosen not to invest in companies with competing interests and instead – the subsidiaries self complement, facilitating mutual success. The Group is passionate about economic development in Africa and strongly believes that the continent is the next frontier, setting the foundation for the organisations investment strategy.