Partner Content By KT Engage
Doing it differently
How The Seventy Ninth Group found its own route to success and became one of the fastest-growing asset management companies
The Seventy Ninth Group is an award-winning, family-owned asset management and financial services company headquartered in the UK with offices, agents and clients worldwide. Founded by serial entrepreneur David Webster and his sons Jake and Curtis, the Seventy Ninth Group holds a unique and advantageous position in both the real estate and natural resource sectors, specialising in the acquisition, management and development of lucrative assets during times of economic turmoil and uncertainty.
Webster is a natural-born leader with a wealth of experience in the property sector, having been one of the UK's largest private landlords for over 27 years. He has since established extensive personal and corporate portfolios, consisting of over £500 million worth of residential and commercial developments, starting with just a single property.
After briefly retiring from the property sector, Webster joined forces with SNR Dentons as a commodity advisor in the precious metals industry. However, his entrepreneurial spirit soon led him to create his own venture in the natural resources sector now known as Seventy Ninth Resources.
Innovative thinking pays off
As the dynamic and proactive chairman of the Seventy Ninth Group and its subsidiaries, Webster is always on the lookout for new and exciting opportunities to propel the company’s operations to new heights. He is dedicated to ensuring the overall direction and growth of the group, working tirelessly to deliver increasingly substantial returns for stakeholders and partners.
Seventy Ninth Resources specialises in the acquisition of undervalued land assets. At one point it had the largest portfolio of natural resource concessions under development, exploration and management globally. Much of the business's success is steeped in its reputation as being renowned for strong family values of loyalty, honesty and reliability, respected by its clients globally.
Webster set out to focus on dealing in land by identifying, targeting and searching for opportunities in undervalued assets, whether it's management, redevelopment or resale. His strategy for success involves investing at the right time and working with the right people to bring the best results for the company's clients. This month marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of Seventy Ninth Global, the team based in Dubai who serves as a conduit to investment opportunities globally and is specifically focused on the resources division.
How Seventy Ninth resources came to be
Over 10 years ago, Webster was asked to go to Africa and be a consultant for a large law firm based in London as they needed protection for their clients on the ground. Africa had a unique set of problems then but these issues have since been reduced due to becoming better regulated. At the time, he saw the bigger picture and spotted business opportunities through his vast experience in land deals. He worked closely with local communities in mineral-rich areas and saw a vision for the future while working in this capacity. He realised he had a unique vantage point: the willingness to work on the ground and build real relationships in Africa, taking a different approach to mining by purchasing the land within which the minerals sit.
The importance of opening an office in the UAE
Having a localised approach to the global business has been a key strategy for the Seventy Ninth Group to effectively build relationships within the UAE and to drive international growth. Growing their network in the region, Webster and his team are thankful for their partners in the Middle East which has come about after spending much of the last decade building up expertise, relationships and impact in the natural resources industry.
A certain level of dedication is required to establish a local office which reflects the Seventy Ninth Group's commitment, accountability and more importantly, resilience in defining new opportunities and establishing new offerings worldwide. The company is willing to embrace the challenges of global expansion and use hard work to fully engage with the regions they expand into. This implies not just investing time and effort in creating appealing offerings for partners in those regions but also embracing and understanding the cultural subtleties of a specific region - something that is difficult to do remotely.
This level of personal investment has been put into both the office in Dubai and the communities built within the Republic of Guinea. It's what has strengthened the business to propel it forward to achieve the impressive growth, milestones and achievements that can be seen today.
Committing to natural minerals
Many investors are wanting to increase their exposure in the natural resources industry now and it has become clear how important minerals will be to the global economy in the next few decades. Unfortunately for them, they must face a harsh reality: you can't simply turn up with money and hope to find success. Those who utilise a long-term perspective, have a dedication to putting in time on the ground and are willing to play the long game will be the ones who thrive in the industry.
Throughout the last 10 years, Webster and his sons have built up their concessions in West Africa - they spent a lot of time on the ground in the Republic of Guinea collaborating with local communities and governmental organisations to learn and build trust. Understanding what existing local businesses truly require as opposed to what incoming businesses believe they require formed the basis of a commercial collaboration.
Timing and price: The key fundamentals of investing
The most difficult part of investing can be understanding when to buy. Timing is key and Webster believes it only comes with patience and experience. Understanding the market and being able to predict what’s going to happen is where the true value lies. Looking back at the journey The Seventy Ninth Group has been on, to be able to shift gears and begin investing in natural resources in Africa is already a remarkable milestone.
Now there are over 60 employees working out of seven offices globally. In just four years, the company has gone from strength-to-strength even during the Covid-19 pandemic and the global economic instability now being faced. In these unprecedented times, questioning conventional ways of thinking is a necessary risk. It is essential to evaluate whether the same rules still apply in the present context. This is particularly true for natural resources where leveraging first-hand experience can enable companies to outpace their competitors.
For instance, identifying the extent and value of mineral reserves on a particular concession is usually a long and intricate process. Having practical experience working in the field however can speed up this process significantly. Working in north-eastern Guinea for example enabled the Seventy Ninth Group’s team to gather relevant samples and assess their value without having to rely on external reports. This reduced what would typically be a five-year exploration process to just two-and-a-half years, providing the business with a significant advantage in a world that is changing at an astonishing rate. By taking calculated risks and challenging traditional approaches, it has been possible to deliver exceptional value.
Key milestones and looking ahead
The Seventy Ninth Group's latest drilling campaign at their three core concession sites in the Republic of Guinea is set to launch in April 2023. The team will be expanding the Guinea office to strengthen their team on the ground, coordinating with local governments and communities and ensuring a more authentic and thoughtful approach to the project.
That's not all. The business recently announced the launch of Seventy Ninth Global DMCC, a private equity offering, that allows partners to participate in the exciting drilling campaign. This is a rare opportunity to be a part of something truly groundbreaking.
The Seventy Ninth Group is intent on listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange later in 2023. This strategic move will offer more access to resources partnerships worldwide with Canada being a key territory in the mining and natural resources industry.
It's an exhilarating time to be a part of the Seventy Ninth Group and we can't wait to see what the future holds.
Visit the Seventy Ninth Group’s website for more updates on their pioneering drilling campaign and continued global expansion efforts.