RH Bophelo is SA’s first black-owned and managed healthcare listing. What message does this send?
That there can be solutions outside of the normal incumbents. The government’s at a serious crossroads in achieving good healthcare for all. It lacks partners prepared to have much more progressive engagements with it, so now there’s a bunch of fights and everyone’s unhappy. For us, it’s about transformation and supporting a much bigger picture.
What numbers are you sitting on?
Our unlisted portfolio is R2,8 billion and we want to grow that to R40 billion. We’re not showing off yet, but we’ll get to that figure: there are too many problems [in the existing structure] for us not to.
Where does RH Bophelo fit into the RH Managers private equity firm structure?
RH Managers was formed in 2013 and RH Bophelo, which listed in July 2017, is a newer listed fund, a permanent capital vehicle. At the moment, we’re building new infrastructure and consolidating existing infrastructure under one umbrella. Because we’re capital-hungry, we’re looking at investors with different risk appetites, so we’re offering different vehicles: our group structure’s set up for that. Our European investors, for example, will be making use of an unlisted vehicle called RH Africa.
Does that imply rolling out the model to the rest of Africa?
Yes – we’ve already started doing so. We’ve lined up about eight European investors for the RH Africa fund and we’re taking the learnings to the rest of the continent, starting in East and southern African, in Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland and Rwanda.
Why the healthcare sector?
Because there are so many things that aren’t working on the continent and nobody’s happy. In SA, the wealthy think they’re being ripped off and overcharged, while for the poor, the sector’s just overcrowded and offers very poor delivery. So it’s an industry where opportunity is significant.
Your fund is challenging private healthcare providers Mediclinic, Netcare and Life Healthcare. Do you see yourself vying for their 20% of the population, or do you hope to open up the market?
We’re looking to take another 20% from what the government’s covering – ie, the top end of the less affordable range. Essentially, we’re saying the private sector should cover about 40-50%.