The Maris Africa fund was founded in 2009. Between 2010 and 2014 Maris made fourteen investments in seven countries. Investments included starting Kenya’s largest gold mine, acquiring and turning around Africa’s second largest teak plantation, turning around two distressed JCB dealerships in Angola and Tanzania, and developing market leading real estate developments in Mozambique. During this period, Maris doubled the value of the portfolio.
In 2013 Maris started a conversation with its investors about the next stage of growth. Maris wanted to capitalise on its first mover advantage, the strong teams that it had recruited and developed, and partnerships it had built. Maris also felt that given the early stage of a lot of its investments and the synergies generated between the businesses, holding investments within the typical private equity fund cycle was at odds with Maris’ investment and wider commercial objectives.
As a result, in 2014 it reorganized the fund into a permanent capital vehicle, Maris Limited, registered in Mauritius. It held a rights issue raising $40m and allowed original shareholders to exit if they wished. Those who exited received up to a 2x their original investment within 5 years of investing and a net IRR of 31%. 2015 was Maris’ first full year of operations as a company.
Since then Maris has focused on the development of strong corporate governance and management practices across its holdings whilst continuing to grow its diversified portfolio. Maris has organised its investments into 4 core divisions and invests both within existing businesses and into new businesses.