UK-based 79th Group family-owned business makes foray into UAE

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Dave Webster with Jake Webster and Curtis Webster. — Supplied photo
Dave Webster with Jake Webster and Curtis Webster. — Supplied photo

The company currently holds 17 mining concessions in Guinea, three of which are currently undergoing exploration work by world-leading geologists, SRK Exploration.


Sandhya D'Mello

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Published: Sat 7 May 2022, 7:09 PM

Last updated: Sat 7 May 2022, 7:12 PM

The UAE has become a major international hub for business as a result of its tax environment and history of having strong regulation, said Dave Webster, chairman of 79th Group.

“The UAE’s ease of doing business policy is attractive for a company like ours as we look to provide assurance to our investors by being positioned in the world’s leading jurisdictions. At the core of our operations is our customer service, we pride ourselves and being available to provide an industry-leading customer experience for all of our investors. As we continue to grow and expand our operations globally, we felt it was important to introduce a new office base in the Middle East so that we can connect with our overseas investors and provide a leading standard of customer service to both our domestic and overseas investors,” said Webster.

“After 30 years in real estate and over 10 years in exploring and sourcing mining concessions, we have been able to identify recurring patterns within the local and international economies, which has enabled our model of purchasing undervalued distressed assets and using our expertise to add value to each of these assets.”

The UK-based 79th Group is an asset management company founded by Webster alongside his sons Jake Webster and Curtis Webster. The firm is focused on real estate and natural resource sectors, as they specialise in the acquisition, management, and development of lucrative assets.

The company currently holds 17 mining concessions in Guinea, three of which are currently undergoing exploration work by world-leading geologists, SRK Exploration. This is partnered with four real estate projects across the UK to total a combined portfolio of assets exceeding the value of £1 billion.

“We have a good track record of capital repayments and interest payments to our investors as many of these payments were made during the Covid-19 pandemic when many asset-management companies were failing to pay their investors. We are able to pay our investors due to our diverse portfolio of assets which we purchase when they are heavily undervalued, and then we apply our expertise to add value for our investors and the business.”

Natural resources and real estate

Webster — who owned and managed large properties in the UK — decided to venture into Guinea and was purchasing gold for the purpose of selling it at a profit. It was apparent to him that there were similarities between both the real estate and natural resources sectors in terms of how asset value behaviour in times of economic uncertainty and expertise in handling real estate assets could be applied to the natural resources sector too.

“We were determined to understand and leverage these opportunities, and spent a lot of time on the ground researching and meeting the right people. Through hard work and enacting the right strategy, we’ve made an abundance of connections on the ground in Guinea with the local communities and leaders, and built a good working knowledge of the extraction process, which ultimately positioned us to become concession owners rather than simply purchasing natural resources,” Webster added.

The company currently raises funds through loan notes whereby they loan the money from their investors specifically linked to a certain project within the portfolio, and they are paid back at an industry-beating rate of interest. The firm recently launched a fully regulated Experienced Investor Fund based in Gibraltar, whereby investors pay to own equity within a ‘cell’ which is then apportioned across a range of our natural resource and real estate assets.

“Our prime objective is to create value for those we work with by utilising our extensive experience to embrace and develop exciting investment opportunities, whilst simultaneously capitalising on our established relationships. By working closely with our stakeholders and partners, we are able to establish more – together,” he said.

“Investing in the communities in which we operate is a hugely important part of our ethos as an asset management company. As a family-owned and managed business, we value loyalty and respect for our fellow humans, wildlife and the environment. That is why we never purchase a property development or natural resource concession without giving something back to the local community. As plans are being drawn up by our team for the purchase of an asset, so are the plans to detail how we can help the local people, wildlife, and environment.”

The company recently launched a fully regulated Seventy-Ninth Experienced Investor Fund with an aim to attract experienced investors (both private and institutional) who wish to gain exposure to lucrative assets in the natural resources and UK property market, whilst maintaining an equity position in the fund. “By being domiciled and headquartered in Gibraltar, we are providing our investors with the assurance that the jurisdiction in which we are based has the globally-recognised regulatory framework,” concluded Webster. —

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