International strategic and special situations investors
The Principle Capital Group, co-founded in 2004 by Brian Myerson, Brian Padgett, and James Peggie, has offices in Geneva, London and Johannesburg. Our operations cover the UK, Continental Europe, and Southern Africa.
Today, Principle Capital is an active private investment arm with core investments in the logistics and infrastructure sectors (including renewable energy), as well as providing international fiduciary and administrative services through its Silex division.
- Hyphen Hydrogen Energy
2015 - present
Traxtion is the leading privately owned mainline rail operator on the African continent, headquartered at its 11,000 sqm Rail Hub in Rosslyn, Pretoria. For over 33 years it has maintained a well-deserved reputation for delivering unparalleled rail services and solutions across the African continent. These include freight and passenger locomotive and rolling stock operations and leasing options, technical maintenance support, locomotive and parts refurbishment and rail safety, regulatory compliance and training through the Traxtion Rail School. It owns and leases locomotives and rolling stock in just under 10 countries in Africa, mostly with blue chip clients such as Anglo American, Glencore, Harmony, Vale and the Passenger Rail Authority in South Africa.
2007 - present
Silex was formed in 1997 and is a multi-family office providing professional fiduciary administration and wealth management services to ultra-high net worth clients. It holds a Class II trust licence issued by the BVI Financial Services Commission and provides its services primarily to families with very significant wealth created over several generations from a wide variety of sectors, including retail, real estate, technology, transport and mining.
2021 - present
Hyphen Hydrogen Energy is a joint venture between Nicholas Holdings Limited, the parent company of the Principle Capital group and ENERTRAG, a German headquartered international renewable energy company. Hyphen was formed to develop green hydrogen projects in Namibia for international, regional, and domestic supply. Hyphen was awarded preferred bidder status by the Government of Namibia in November 2021 for the Southern Corridor Development Initiative, the umbrella programme for the development of a green hydrogen industry in the south of the country.
- Sirius Real Estate
- Earthchild Clothing
- PME Africa Infrastructure
- South African Property Opportunities
2013 - 2022
Connect is South Africa’s leading provider of automated cash management, lending and payment solutions in the retail sector, processing more than $7 billion each year. Principle Capital led a consortium of investors in 2013 to acquire and provide growth capital to the business. The consortium included Steven Heilbron, former CEO of Investec Bank plc, who became CEO of Connect, while James Peggie joined the Board. Principle Capital subsequently brought in Futuregrowth, a division of Old Mutual plc, to provide lending facilities and further equity enabling the business to capitalise on its network of SME retailers in South Africa. With further private equity investment and the acquisition of Kazang in 2019, a virtual vending products business in Southern Africa, the company has grown revenues from $7 million to $300 million and was sold in April 2022 to NASDAQ listed Lesaka Technologies Inc. for $264 million.
Germany and the UK
2008 - 2016
Sirius Real Estate is a leading owner and operator of business parks, offices and mixed-use workspaces in Germany and the UK. It is listed in the FTSE250 of the London Stock Exchange and the SAPY index of the largest property companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Principle Capital took over the management of Sirius from its founders (Dawnay Day, who collapsed in the financial crisis) and became its largest shareholder. Brian Myerson and subsequently James Peggie both joined the Board and helped oversee a major restructuring and refinancing programme as well as bringing in the current CEO Andrew Coombs. Coombs has taken the company from a market capitalisation of £90 million to over £1 billion, with the backing of some of Europe and South Africa’s major financial institutions, including BlackRock, Abrdn, Old Mutual and the South African government pension fund PIC.
2009 - 2015
Earthchild is a leading childrenswear brand in South Africa. Principle Capital acquired a controlling stake in the business in 2009 and Brian Myerson, James Peggie and Brian Padgett joined the Board. Initially it was a small retailer with 8 stores, offering natural fashionable styling and fabrics, focused primarily on children’s clothing but also with a womenswear offering. During the time Principle Capital was invested, the company opened a further 35 stores and expanded from its base in Cape Town to cities throughout South Africa, and one in Spain, as well as opening online. Turnover increased over 600% and grew from less than 20 to well over 100 people in the business. In 2015, the company was sold to Truworths, one of South Africa’s largest retailers.
PME Africa Infrastructure
UK listed company investing in African infrastructure
PME was formed in 2007 by Principle Capital in partnership with Helvetica, the financial management arm of the Qatar Royal Family to invest in infrastructure projects and related opportunities across a range of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Listing on the AIM of the London Stock Exchange, it raised initial capital of $180 million, cornerstoned by the Qatar Investment Authority, and Brian Myerson joined the Board. PME made three investments in the telecom sector, a broadband network in Uganda and phone networks in Tanzania and the African Great Lakes, and its major investment was in Sheltam Rail (the former name of Traxtion). In 2010 the QIA decided to exit from Africa and the company was wound down, subsequent to which Principle Capital acquired its interest in Traxtion.
South African Property Opprtunities
UK listed company investing in African infrastructure
SAPRO was formed in 2006 by Principle Capital in partnership with two South African property developers. Listing on the AIM of the London Stock Exchange, it raised capital of $100 million in two placings from a variety of institutional investors and Brian Myerson joined the Board. SAPRO made 15 investments in the Johannesburg and Durban areas with an even mix of industrial, residential and mixed-use developments, many of which became very successful schemes.
- Activist Investments
Over a 20 year period starting in 1989, Brian Myerson and the Principle Capital team pioneered activist hedge fund investing, first under the Active Value name and then as Principle Capital which they formed in 2004. The strategy focused on turning round underperforming listed businesses on the London and South African stock exchanges. During this period, the team realised over US$1 billion in the execution of over 50 separate listed investments. Target companies included some of the UK and South Africa’s most well known companies including WPP, Pilkington, Novar, Nord Anglia Education, Greycoat, MWB Group, Kenwood, Mothercare, Topps Tiles, Aquascutum, Hogg Robinson, Liberty, Scholl, Wembley, Primedia and Sage Life amongst many others.
The initial investments were backed by high net worth families such as the founders of Global Asset Management, Soditic and Cisco, as well as members of the Getty and Rockefeller families.
As the funds grew in size, some of the world’s largest institutions invested with the team, including some of the world’s largest pension funds CalPERS and Ontario Teachers, and other major life insurers and investment management firms including Pacific Mutual, Invesco and LGT.
Through decades of experience in investing and managing listed and unlisted investments, our management team has nurtured a variety of companies to realise their potential.
- Brian Myerson
- Brian Sean Padgett
- James Peggie
Brian Myerson is a hedge fund pioneer and the Chief Executive of Principle Capital Group. He entered the UK market with an activist investment strategy in 1989 and co-founded the Active Value group in 1992. Over the following two decades, he made and realised investments worth over US$1bn and clients included some of the most well-known family offices, institutional investors and the largest sovereign wealth and pension funds in the world.
He led the foundation of private investment firm Principle Capital Group in 2004. Under his leadership, the group has grown substantially. Throughout his tenure as CEO at Principle Capital, Brian Myerson has resided over the group holding several significant strategic investments with assets under management and administration of over US$2bn. Its core investment focus is on the infrastructure, real estate and fiduciary services sectors.
He has strong ties to his home country of South Africa and the African continent, where he has made several investments, worth over US$800m, since 2003. Interests in Africa include investment into and subsequent sale of Sage Life to Momentum, one of South Africa's largest insurance groups; raising US$180m for the launch of the London-listed Africa-focused infrastructure fund PME African Infrastructure Opportunities cornerstoned by the Qatar Investment Authority. Brian Myerson has also overseen investment into Earthchild Clothing, one of South Africa's leading childrenswear brands and its subsequent sale to Truworths; leading a consortium of investors, including Futuregrowth, a division of Old Mutual, in an investment in Connect Group and its subsequent sale to Nasdaq listed Net1; and the acquisition of a controlling stake in the leading African railway services solutions provider Traxtion in partnership with the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund.
He is Chairman of Traxtion and Hyphen Hydrogen Energy, and has served as Chairman or Board Director of nine companies listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges, including Sirius Real Estate, Liberty PLC, MWB Group PLC, Greycoat PLC and Sage Life.
Visit https://www.themarque.com/profile/brian-myerson for additional information.
Brian Padgett co-founded the Principle Capital Group and is Managing Director of Silex, as well as being responsible for the Group's financial operations. He is based in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to co-founding the Principle Capital group, he was joint head of fund management in the Active Value group. Before that he was chief financial officer of ABSA Financial Services (Jersey) Limited, the offshore division of ABSA Bank Limited. Brian graduated from University College, London in 1989 and is a qualified Chartered Accountant.
Principle Capital Advisors
James Peggie is a director of Principle Capital Advisors Limited based in London, where he takes responsibility for the corporate finance, legal and transactional aspects of Principle Capital's investment projects. Prior to co-founding the Principle Capital Group, he had the same responsibility for the Active Value Group. James qualified as a solicitor in 1997, working in the corporate finance division of Sinclair Roche & Temperley (now Stephenson Harwood), an international law firm. James graduated from Oxford University in 1992, and in 1994 from The College of Law (with Distinction). From 2006 to 2010, he was a non-executive director of Liberty PLC, the owner of London's famous store. James is a non-executive director of Sirius Real Estate Limited, a real estate company investing in Germany and the UK, and listed in the FTSE250 of the London Stock Exchange. James is and has been a director of most of the Group's private investments over the past decade.
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