Home » Companies owned by South Africa’s second-richest man Nicky Oppenheimer

Companies owned by South Africa’s second-richest man Nicky Oppenheimer

Exploring the diverse empire of Nicky Oppenheimer: South Africa's second-richest man

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Nicky Oppenheimer

Nicky Oppenheimer, South Africa’s second-richest individual, has reshaped the diamond industry and carved his path as a successful businessman, ranking as the world’s 222nd richest person with a personal fortune of $10.2 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Born into the Oppenheimer family, Nicky joined Anglo-American, the mining conglomerate founded by his grandfather, in 1968. He held various leadership positions within the company, eventually becoming deputy chairman. His tenure coincided with De Beers’ dominance in the global diamond trade, shaping his understanding of the industry.

As an impactful investor, Nicky and his family in 2012 sold their 40-percent stake in De Beers to Anglo-American for $5.2 billion, marking a significant shift and desire to diversify beyond the diamond sector.

Renowned for his immense wealth and influence, he solidified his stature as one of Africa’s wealthiest men through the establishment of Tana Capital, an investment firm focusing on technology, agriculture, and renewable energy, ensuring his position as the third-richest African billionaire, trailing only Aliko Dangote and Johann Rupert.

The billionaire investor is renowned for his global investments in Africa, Asia, the United States, and Europe. Notably, his commitment extends beyond profits to wilderness conservation, evident in his co-ownership of Tswalu Kalahari, South Africa’s largest private game reserve.

He also owns the historic Shangani Ranch, a pivotal contributor to beef exports to the UK since 1937. As South Africa’s second-richest individual, Oppenheimer’s multifaceted investments continue to shape the country’s economic trajectory across diverse sectors.

Additionally, his philanthropic initiatives, including the Brenthurst Foundation, address social issues like education and conservation. He actively advocates for responsible business practices and promotes sustainable development in Africa. His leadership in conservation efforts through his ownership of vast tracts of land in South Africa and Zimbabwe further demonstrates his commitment to environmental stewardship.

Billionaires.Africa has identified and tracked seven notable assets owned by Oppenheimer: 

  1. Tana Africa Capital
    Founded through a partnership between the esteemed Oppenheimer family and Temasek Holdings, Tana Africa Capital specializes in strategic investments across various sectors such as FMCG, retail, education, healthcare, and agribusiness, the company reflects Nicky Oppenheimer’s visionary approach and dedication to sustainability. Notable investments in companies like Yohco (mobile payments) and Emergent (renewable energy) underscore his commitment to driving innovation and tackling critical challenges in South Africa’s economy.
  2. Oppenheimer Generations
    Oppenheimer Generations, led by the Nicky Oppenheirmer and his son, Jonathan, oversees diverse global interests, including Oppenheimer Partners, which now maintains 100 percent ownership in GZ Industries Ltd. —Nigeria’s leading beverage can manufacturer, after purchasing Affirma Capital’s 37.5-percent stake leading to a 100-percent ownership. Since 2010, GZ Industries has dominated the West African market and serves as a key supplier to major brands like Coca-Cola Co. Jonathan Oppenheimer’s strategic direction aims to expand GZ Industries’ presence in South Africa while also diversifying its product offerings to include a range of can sizes.
  3. Fireblade Aviation
    Nicky Oppenheimer founded Fireblade Aviation in 2014, a Johannesburg-based private aviation company offering executive charter flights and VIP services. With a fleet of state-of-the-art aircraft, Fireblade Aviation provides personalized travel experiences for discerning clients. With its commitment to excellence, Fireblade Aviation continues to redefine private air travel and reaffirm its position as a leading player in the industry.
  4. Shangani Ranch
    Situated in Zimbabwe’s southwestern province and known as a wildlife sanctuary because it serves as a corridor for migrating animals, the Shangani Ranch is a 65,000-hectare property that employs 400 people and keeps at least 8,000 cattle for beef export to the UK. The ranch has been owned by the Oppenheimer family since 1937. After land reform legislation in Zimbabwe officially began in 1980 with the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement under the administration of late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the property was reduced by over half from 140,000 hectares to 65,000 hectares.
  5. Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
    Tswalu Kalahari stands as a proud member of Oppenheimer Generations, a diverse community of commercial ventures and not-for-profit organizations representing the global interests of the Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer family. Tswalu offers a true wilderness experience on the southernmost edge of the Kalahari and privileged access to the largest privately protected area in South Africa.
  6. IDH Holdings
    In addition to his broad private equity investments in top companies, Nicky Oppenheimer also holds a significant 3.37-percent stake in Integrated Diagnostics Holdings, a consumer healthcare company with subsidiaries in Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Nigeria, and, most recently, Pakistan with the acquisition of Islamabad Diagnostic Center, one of Pakistan’s largest integrated diagnostics providers.
  7. 4DI Capital
    Oppenheimer, besides investing in private equity firms like Tana Africa Capital, also has a stake in 4DI Capital. 4DI Capital is a renowned venture capital fund manager in Cape Town, South Africa, focusing on early-stage technology ventures in Southern and East Africa. With a team of experienced entrepreneurs, 4DI is highly respected in the local venture capital scene.
  8. Stockdale Street
    Nicky Oppenheimer’s investments extend to Stockdale Street, a private equity firm named after the iconic street in Kimberley, South Africa. This street holds historical significance as it was the original location of the De Beers head office.
  9. The Brenthurst Foundation
    Established in 2004 by the Oppenheimer family, the Brenthurst Foundation spearheads sustainable growth initiatives across Africa. Through his role on the International Advisory Board, Oppenheimer actively shapes the foundation’s innovative strategies. Born from the Brenthurst Initiative of 2003, the foundation fuels policy debates, fostering economic expansion in South Africa and beyond. As part of Oppenheimer Generations, it collaborates with interconnected entities to uphold a shared commitment of leaving a positive impact on the world.

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