July 17, 2018 / 9:34 AM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa's Amplats, PIC create venture fund to lift PGM industrial demand

(Recasts with CEO comments, background)

By Ed Stoddard

JOHANNESBURG, July 17 (Reuters) - World no. 1 platinum producer Anglo American Platinum has spun off an internal fund and invested $100 million in a new venture capital fund with an aim to stimulate industrial demand for platinum group metals (PGMs), the company said on Tuesday.

Associated with jewellery and emissions-capping autocatalysts, about a third of platinum demand comes from other industrial applications. Producers are keen to expand this market in the face of falling diesel usage and depressed prices.

The South African state pension fund, Public Investment Corp (PIC), is a partner with a matching $100 million investment in the new company, AP Ventures LLP, which takes over from Amplats’ internal Anglo Platinum Marketing Ltd.

“For industrial uses we have had an internal fund that over a number of years has invested in eight different projects to the value of $60 million. But we were getting to a stage where we couldn’t grow that much ourselves,” Amplats Chief Executive Chris Griffith told Reuters.

He said “we also see the potential for new partners” to join AP Ventures LLP, which will put its initial investment in two UK-based venture capital funds.

These in turn will invest globally in companies that support the development of innovative technological uses of PGMs.

Griffith said companies that Amplats’ internal fund had invested in along these lines included hydrogen producer United Hydrogen and Food Freshness Technology, which produces filters to keep food fresher for longer. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard and Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Jason Neely and Dale Hudson)

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