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Raising Capital In A Worsening Macro-Economic Environment

One could try to rely on the views of economists but then again, as the age old saying goes: “The only way to trust an economist is to chop off one hand so that the economist can’t say ‘on the other hand…’.”

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  • Company: Sasfin Corporate Finance
  • Contact: +27 (0)11 531 9281
  • Visit: sasfin.com

Uncertainty is nothing new to any business manager. This uncertainty essentially comes in two forms: Exogenous risks and Endogenous risks. A manager can control the internal risks in an organisation but exogenous risks are harder to control and these risks are linked to macro-economic events which are almost completely out of the control of a business manager.

One could try to rely on the views of economists but then again, as the age old saying goes: “The only way to trust an economist is to chop off one hand so that the economist can’t say ‘on the other hand…’.”

The key to managing ever-changing external influences on a business, is to constantly evaluate these influences and remain adaptive. This often leads a business manager on the path to raising capital.

Quite often, and particularly during challenging macro-economic environments when a business manager needs to keep a close eye on the operations of the business, they may need to seek assistance from advisors to conclude not just a ‘life-raft’ capital raise, but rather a bespoke capital raise, to ensure the economic storm is weathered and the business is poised to continue growing and capitalising on the opportunities presented by difficult times.

Related: How Do I Go About Valuing My Business?

The source of capital is dependent on numerous factors, such as the cash-generating ability of the business, business sensitivity relative to the business cycle, health of the balance sheet and the management team/shareholders’ ultimate objectives.

Cash-generating ability of the business

A cash-generative business is any investor’s dream. Obviously the ability for the business to raise capital is dependent on existing debt obligations and how amenable the shareholders are to the type of capital injected into the business.

Raising capital for a profitable business that has a consistent track record, even during poor macro-economic environments, is usually doable as it offers a positive return for investors and financiers.

The question is whether to raise equity or debt? To answer this question, one would first need to assess the current and target capital structures of the business. It is advisable, where not clear-cut, to engage with a  professional advisor to assess your business’s capital structure.

Should this exercise indicate a need for equity capital, for a private business, the most efficient way to raise equity would be through a structured process designed to attract potential investors with the right pedigree and access to capital to enable your business to exploit opportunities.

A further option, which may be viable for some companies, would be to pursue the option of listing on a recognised stock exchange. This has the benefit of either raising capital on listing or post-listing, and being able to access public capital markets more frequently than when a company was privately held.

Business’s sensitivity relative to the business cycle and health of the balance sheet.

Should this exercise result in the answer that debt is the most appropriate form of capital to raise, it would be important to consider the key characteristics of debt: Debt can be cheaper yet potentially more demanding on cash resources that the business may want to hold onto during tough times e.g., by way of contrast, although more expensive, equity requires no interest to be serviced or capital to be repaid and constitutes a more patient type of capital.

Most businesses are sensitive to a business cycle, but on the odd occasion there are businesses that are agnostic to the business cycle. The reason for this is either that the underlying business is relatively indifferent to the business cycle or the manager of the business has structured a business that has a diverse income stream coupled with an entrepreneurial mindset.

Usually during times of poor economic growth a business may experience an environment of low interest rates. Therefore, raising debt through either a credit facility or an existing note programme is less expensive than raising equity capital from investors who expect higher returns. Furthermore, where debt is raised in the production of income, the interest incurred on this debt would normally be fully deductible in terms of South Africa’s income tax legislation.

That said, there is an old joke about bankers: “A banker is the type of person who will lend you an umbrella when the sun is shining and demand it back when it starts raining.”

Consequently, during times of poor economic growth, a bank’s willingness to extend new lines of credit is often restricted. That’s why being able to access alternative debt sources or ensuring that the business has excess capacity in terms of its existing credit facilities with a bank is important. A proven track record of being able to service a debt obligation goes a long way when applying for new facilities. An important consideration to note is that a bank or a funder may enforce stricter covenants in an environment of poor economic growth if new debt is raised (and sometimes even on existing facilities).

Related: Raising Capital Through A Black Economic Empowerment Transaction

An alternative to debt or equity is preference shares. The problem faced by companies accessing the South African preference share market is that investors are still mindful of the fairly recent demise of African Bank. That said, we have noticed renewed demand in this market and, for the right types of business, this is a very attractive alternative to raise quasi equity finance. The main alternatives would be issuing perpetual (i.e. non-redeemable) or redeemable preference shares. This decision, taken in consultation with a company’s advisors, will need to be carefully assessed depending on the company’s needs.

Finally, the key to any capital raise during trying times ultimately rests with the management team. A good manager with an adaptive and positive attitude, and supportive shareholders will make the process of raising capital in times of economic stress easier.

Sasfin Corporate Finance focuses on providing innovative commercial and banking solutions to our clients. As an accredited sponsor and designated advisor with the JSE, we offer our sponsor and designated advisor clients independent advice on a full range of corporate finance transactions including advice relating to continuing obligations in terms of the JSE Listings Requirements. Sasfin Capital is a division of Sasfin Bank Limited, a subsidiary of Sasfin Holdings which listed on the JSE in 1987

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The Alfa Romeo Stelvio – More Than An SUV

The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession.

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The All-New Alfa Romeo Stelvio draws inspiration from the legendary mountain pass linking Italy to Switzerland, with 48 hairpins in quick succession. The Stelvio pass is widely seen as one of the most beautiful and engaging roads on the planet.

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Enhance Your Entrepreneurial Flair With An Online Postgraduate Diploma From The University Of Pretoria

The Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria, a leader in business management education, will be offering an Online Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship for the 2018 academic year with some seminars to enrich your action learning experience.

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The Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria, a leader in business management education, will be offering an Online Postgraduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship for the 2018 academic year with some seminars to enrich your action learning experience.

The programme content focuses on the start-up processes, creativity and opportunity recognition, business planning and marketing as well as financial management. Furthermore, the programme emphasises entrepreneurial growth and small business policy development with relevance to the enabling environment.

Who should enrol?

The programme is designed for pre-, nascent and start-up entrepreneurs who want to attain an advanced degree in entrepreneurship. It is also intended for individuals who work in an entrepreneurial environment and are involved with small business policy development. Although many students in the programme have academic credentials in entrepreneurship or business management, the programme is also appropriate if your education and/or experience may be in other disciplines (e.g. engineering or medicine).

Admission requirements

A relevant bachelor’s degree.

Related: This Enterprises UP Expert Explains Why Start-Ups Really Fail

Additional programme information

The duration of the course is one year. The language of tuition is English and the course will be presented in two blocks by means of the blended learning method (70% online and 30% contact sessions). Students need continuous access to the internet to complete the course.

Course Contents

Overview of modules for Block A

  • Ideation-to-market: Starting up
  • International Business Venturing
  • Venturing Strategy Building (Part 1)

Overview of modules for Block B

  • Entrepreneurial Marketing
  • Entrepreneurial Supply Chain Management
  • Entrepreneurial Finance
  • Venturing Strategy Building (Part 2)

Click here for more information.

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Win A Business Makeover With Retail Capital To The Value Of R250 000

Retail Capital is giving SMEs an opportunity to win a makeover to build their brand with an investment of R250,000.

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Retail Capital is giving SMEs an opportunity to win a makeover to build their brand with an investment of R250,000. During the summer campaign, SMEs are encouraged to share the vision of how they would like to see their business grow, and led by a team of experts, Retail Capital will work with the winning SME to help make their vision come true.

While South Africa’s economy is not faring well, Retail Capital CEO Karl Westvig remains optimistic about the country’s retail and hospitality sectors. “We are seeing some green shoots, with an increase in turnover in these sectors – starting from the end of September. Economic conditions remain very tough, but businesses seem to be trading well into October and we’re hoping this continues into the festive season trading.”

According to recent statistics from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), South Africa’s retail sales rose by 5.5% year-on-year in August 2017, following a downwardly revised 1.6% gain in the previous month and above market expectations of 2.3%. It is the biggest gain in retail trade since August of 2012.

Related: How To Raise Working Capital Finance

“I do believe that these sectors will see an improvement during the summer season. But, key to this will be for small business owners to ensure that they have the right amount of stock, adequate cash flow, as well as other systems in place to meet the ever-changing needs of customers,” says Westvig.

For many small businesses, however, continually adapting to market changes requires cash injections that they don’t often have.

The prize includes the following:

  • Business plan/consulting
  • Marketing strategy
  • Design and branding
  • Website and social Media and,
  • R50k capital to gear your business.

Westvig explains that the summer campaign tagline ‘Your Vision. Our Belief’ really speaks to why Retail Capital first opened its doors. “Our goal is to see the potential of small businesses and to work with them in making these become a reality.”

He adds that the idea is not to simply help one business during the campaign either. Westvig points out that one of the biggest challenges that small businesses face in the sluggish economy is enough foot traffic through their doors. “Generally, the main hurdle in creating brand awareness and projecting credibility of their establishments boils down to establishing a strong online presence.”

“One of the first ways that South Africans identify a business or service provider that they want to work with is over social media – even in a country where the digital divide has traditionally separated the technological haves from the have-nots,” he says.

He explains that companies that don’t have a social media presence are running the risk of being overlooked entirely. “They may attract customers in their own community with signage or word of mouth, but to grow a business, they need to expand their reach – and that’s where social media comes in.”

But, the reality is that resource and time constraints mean that for many SMEs, social media is not prioritised. “Unfortunately for the average small business owner, they don’t have the time or expertise to get connected.”

Understanding the importance of having an online presence, Retail Capital has also committed to developing the digital presence of all campaign entrants. This would include setting up each entrant’s digital presence on platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tripadvisor, Zomato and any others that may be relevant to their specific market or industry.

“As a partner to many SMEs in South Africa, we are continually looking at new and innovative ways to help provide them with the much-needed support in order for them to realise their visions. SMEs need to be supported with initiatives like targeted education and training, supportive legislation, and funding opportunities that collectively help them grow our national economy,” says Westvig.

Related: 6 Great Tips For A Successful Shark Tank Pitch

Who we are and what we do:

“More than R1.25 billion has been extended to a range of businesses including food trucks, hair salons, restaurants, spas and franchised retail stores. Many of these businesses have not been able to raise funding in any other way, other than to go to unscrupulous lenders,”says Karl Westvig, the CEO Retail Capital, a company that provides working capital with the help of innovative lending technology.

“We have also estimated that for every R160 000 we lend, we create a new job. This means that 625 jobs have been created purely by enabling small businesses to get the funding they need for working capital requirements or expansion opportunities.”

Retail Capital’s system, which enables it to advance funding to small businesses, based on real time information on credit card transactions, is providing a new funding alternative to entrepreneurs who have previously been turned away by banks. Because it is able to get actual sales information, it can approve funding immediately, and allow for flexible repayment options based on sales cycles of the particular businesses it is funding.

“This creates significant opportunity for small business owners to focus on their business and grow volumes or look for expansion opportunities rather than spend their time frantically trying to repay debt or keep the business alive after debt repayments have eaten away at any cash reserves they might have had.”

Retail Capital funding is repaid by it taking a percentage of a business’s recorded credit or debit card sales, with repayments fluctuating in line with their business cycle. This has the effect of ensuring that it isn’t overburdened with debt.

“In the past six years since starting the business, small businesses have had the benefit of R1 billion in funding they would have been unable to get through traditional channels,”says Westvig.

Against the backdrop of recessionary conditions in South Africa, Retail Capital’s client information reveals growth in informal sector turnover across a number of industries.

“We believe that growth in the informal sector is outstripping that of the formal sector,”says Westvig.

As a large proportion of the businesses it funds are women- and black-owned, there is evidence that entrepreneurs who have previously been excluded from access to finance are now enjoying success now that their access to finance problem has been solved.

Win A Business Makeover with Retail Capital

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