The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) has invested R50-million in South African satellite systems manufacturer SunSpace and Information Systems (SunSpace), to allow it to increase its capacity and improve its competitiveness in the aerospace market.
SunSpace is the builder of the Sumbandilasat microsatellite that is scheduled for launching from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan later this year.
The Engineering News this morning reported the NEF will invest the funds directly into black economic-empowerment (BEE) consortium Mihle, which owns 25% of the company`s equity.
The deal is in line with the NEF`s mandate of fostering and supporting broad-based black economic-empowerment (BBBEE) and is one of a series of recent investments aimed at rapidly increasing black participation in strategic industries and enterprises, the Engineering News adds.
"The attraction for the NEF in supporting this black empowered business arose out of especially the strategic sector in which it resides, namely the space sector, and the fact that it is supportive of the Department of Trade and Industry`s (DTI`s) Space Programme, which is being implemented as a result of the National Space Policy," says NEF CFO Andrew Wright.
The DTI launched a National Space Policy in March. This aims at enhancing the country`s participation in the global space arena. The policy will be administered by the DTI, while the accompanying National Space Strategy is managed by the Department of Science and Technology.
"Further to this, in line with the specific mandate of the NEF, SunSpace already has an active black empowerment ownership and management element and the NEF funding allowed an opportunity to structure a more efficient capitalisation structure for the black shareholders and for the company itself, "Wright added.
Pic: SunSpace logo
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