Astoria is a Mauritian-domiciled global investment company with primary listings of its shares on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius and the Alternative Exchange (AltX) of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Our Structure

Astoria’s board takes responsibility for the strategy and governance of the Company. The responsibility for managing Astoria’s portfolio of assets rests with RECM Global, a Mauritian-domiciled investment advisory company associated with Piet Viljoen and Jan van Niekerk, who are both non-executive directors of Astoria.

Our Aim

Astoria aims to grow its net asset value per share, measured in US Dollars, at a high real rate over time. If we manage to achieve this, we will also generate
good returns in other currencies, including South African Rands, in which many of our shareholders own their shares. There are no restrictions on geography, currency, or type of investment in Astoria’s mandate. We intend to utilize the full flexibility of this mandate, but a large part of RECM Global’s experience, networks, history, and cultural understanding reside in South Africa.

We look to invest the bulk of the portfolio in good businesses, partner with good management teams and do so at fair prices.

Our Approach

When considering listed assets, our natural inclination leans toward “value investing”. We are attracted to opportunities where investors extrapolate depressed conditions, underestimate future potential, or simply neglect assets. Forced selling, which often occurs due to loss of control through high leverage, client redemptions in open-ended funds, or just plain fatigue, adds to the pool of opportunities. And because transactions are easily executed on a screen, the seduction of immediate liquidity for sellers can create opportunities for us to buy such assets at prices well below fair value.

In privately negotiated transactions, however, “value investing” doesn’t work. Our best investments have come from dealing with peers, where both parties want to work together and where both parties bring value to bear from complementary contributions. In most of these instances, value is not created by being overly sharp with the initial price paid, but rather through working together over a long time to build the business by implementing sensible expansion plans, serving customers better, maintaining assets properly, and returning excess capital to shareholders. When this process is followed, paying a fair price at inception of the transaction creates a win-win outcome.

Our Directors

Dean Schweizer

Chief Financial Officer

Dean Schweizer

Dean Schweizer is a Chartered Accountant who held various managerial roles in the Cape Town office of Ernst & Young since 2009, with a specific focus on the Financial Services Sector. Dean joined Regarding Capital Management in 2015, where he oversaw both the operations and finance teams, while serving on the Executive Committee as Head of Finance. Dean is currently a resident of Mauritius.

Catherine McIlraith

Independent Non-Executive Chairperson

Catherine McIlraith

Catherine McIlraith is a Mauritian citizen and holds a Bachelor of Accountancy degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa and has been a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants since 1992. Catherine held many senior positions in the Investment Banking industry in South Africa prior to returning to Mauritius in 2004 to join Investec Bank where she was Head of Specialized Finance and Banking until 2010. Catherine is a Fellow Member of the Mauritius Institute of Directors and fulfills the role of an independent non-executive director of several public and private companies.

Nicolas Hardy

Independent Non-Executive Director

Nicolas Hardy

Nicolas holds a BSc(Maths) and an MBA from UCT Business School and has gained over 15 years of international banking experience having worked for JP Morgan Fleming in the UK before returning to Mauritius in 2002 to work at Investec Bank Mauritius. His responsibilities grew from treasurer to include the management of various committees, including credit, risk, accounts and management. Nicolas also managed the strategic operation and technical development encompassing the on-line/digital banking system and the currency cards program. Nicolas is currently the Chief Technology and Operations Officer at Afrasia Bank Limited.

Piet Viljoen

Non-Executive Director

Piet Viljoen

Piet started out as a lecturer at the University of Pretoria, and subsequently joined SARB as an economic analyst. He joined Allan Gray Investment Counsel in 1991 as a portfolio manager and later moved to Investec Asset Management in 1995. Piet founded Regarding Capital Management, a Cape Town-based asset manager, in 2003.

Jan van Niekerk

Non-Executive Director

Jan van Niekerk

Jan is a qualified actuary with more than 20 years of industry experience. He served as the Chief Investment Officer of Citadel, a South African wealth manager, after which he became CEO of Peregrine Holdings Limited, a JSE-listed financial services firm. Jan is an Executive Director of RECM and Calibre Limited.

Casey Jorgensen

Independent Non-Executive Director

Casey Jorgensen

Casey is a Chartered Accountant with Executive Director experience in businesses dealing in commodities across Africa. Casey has financial management experience with specific focus on treasury management for multinational businesses. Prior to Casey entering the corporate environment she lectured Financial Management, Auditing and Taxation.