Friday, March 24, 2017
Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe

Resource Generation

ROB Louw swapped the relatively quiet life of private equity for the vigours of life as CEO of a publicly-listed business following the ouster of the Sydney-based management at Resource Generation (Resgen). It was a scrap that had its roots in shareholder dissatisfaction with previous management’s ‘remote control’ style of Resgen’s proposed $550m, 12 million tonne/year Boikarabelo thermal coal project, situated in South Africa’s Limpopo province. As a result, the board was overhauled and a fresh plan was implemented. Innovations such as in-pit dumping of discard which cut costs were adopted. Efforts were redoubled to finance the project which had already absorbed $200m. A syndicate involving the IDC, PIC, Rand Merchant Bank and Noble Resources was positioned to stump up the cash. But by November, Lowe had to acknowledge the funding would not be complete until the first quarter of 2017 with first coal due in 2019. Resgen has its eye on becoming an Independent Power Producer, but the priority is to lock down Boikarabelo. Development of South Africa’s coal deposits in the Waterberg has been poor to date, so Resgen’s success will give a lift to the region and its infrastructure suppliers Transnet and Eskom which have already invested there.

LIFE OF ROB

Rob Lowe is not one for the limelight, but as a shareholder in Resource Generation through his Altius Investment fund, of which he is also CEO, he could not let the company wither on the vine. His background is in legal and corporate with a track-record for investment in food, energy and water. He is executive chairman of NuWater, a provider of mobile and modular water cleansing solutions to the mining, power and gas, sanitation and public sectors.

“The Australian focus was not aligned with the local focus.”