Last week in brief...Well, if ever there was a hodge-podge of a week of deal making in Africa, then last week was it. With school and other holidays in full swing in many parts of our readers' worlds, there was not much activity, and what there was tended towards the venture end of the private capital investment scale. Let's hope the coming week changes all that.
In terms of deal size, or should we say potential deal size, the biggest item of the week was Consol Group's announcement that they're planning to re-list on the main board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange "in the near future." The packaged glass manufacturing company had previously been listed on the JSE until 2007, when it was acquired and taken private by a consortium of private equity investors led by Brait.
Other consortium members backing Consol included Old Mutual Private Equity, Sanlam Private Equity, HarbourVest Partners as well as Consol' s management team. And at some point during the last 11 years, both Sphere Holdings and the Public Investment Corporation have also acquired stakes. The company hopes to raise at least R2.7 billion or $224 million via the listing, which will be used to strengthen and deleverage its balance sheet.
All the other deals last week were more venture capital in size. A varied group of eight investors have teamed up to support Asoko Insight's Series A round, helping the round to come in 20% above target. Asoko's a provider of corporate information and intelligence on Africa’s growth markets had been looking to raise $3 million, and ended up landing an extra $600,000.
The company, which currently employs about 45 people, will primarily use the fresh capital to streamline and expand its product development capabilities. In particular, a major development thrust for the company will be deepening its product offering to compliance professionals. Twelve months from now, the firm expects its headcount to have risen by 65% or so to support these initiatives.
Proparco is making its first direct investment in Africa's FinTech sector. The French development finance institution is investing $3 million in JUMO, a company that has developed a credit scoring algorithm that accurately determines a consumer's creditworthiness by assessing their digital footprint.
The company's services help to provide loan and savings products to customers through mobile phone networks, allowing many un-banked and under-banked people to access finance at lower costs. JUMO granted over 12 million loans to customers in 2017 alone.
The Rise Fund, a $2 billion TPG Growth-managed impact fund, and Kupanda Capital have teamed up to seed Nithio Holdings, an energy finance company focused on the off-grid sector in Africa. The new platform provides services to distributed energy service companies, capital providers, governments, and other stakeholders in the distributed solar energy sector and is led by Héla Cheikhrouhou, Tunisia’s former Minister of Energy, Mining and Renewables and a Senior Partner at Kupanda Capital. As yet, the amount of capital and terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
There were two items of news related to private capital investors themselves last week. In the first, Abu Dhabi Financial Group, a global investment firm with $6.5 billion in assets, is making a strategic investment in 500 Startups, the Silicon Valley-based venture firm and accelerator. While additional terms of the deal were not disclosed, a statement on 500 Startups' website said that ADFG "...will be injecting substantial capital to accelerate the growth of our key initiatives, expand into new markets, and anchor future 500 funds."
In the second, demand for shares in the retail tranche of BPE Partners' IPO on the Egyptian Exchange have proved to be very strong. Applications for the 5 million shares made available by the former Beltone Private Equity to retail investors were more than 84 times oversubscribed, according to reports. The proceeds of the offering have been earmarked for additional investments in new and renewable energy sectors as well as non-bank financial services opportunities.
Finally this week, we took a moment to reflect on some aspects of the first quarter's activity. Take a look at some of the data we compiled. There'll be more to come in the next couple of weeks, but today we review the private equity exits that took place in the first three months of the year as well as the funds that held closes.
As always, you can review these and other stories by clicking through to this week’s preview issue of Africa Capital Digest.
Allan Cunningham is a senior media executive who has spent the last 15 years of his career working for some of the world’s most respected M&A and Private Equity media companies including Dow Jones’s publications Private Equity Analyst and VentureWire and most recently, The Deal. He has built a number of successful digital and event content businesses, both subscription and sponsor-supported, delivering information and content-marketing services to clients in the M&A and broader deal ecosystem. He recently struck out on his own and launched Rowayton Press, a multi-platform media company focused on the private capital opportunities in emerging and frontier markets. Mr. Cunningham holds a Bachelors degree from Liverpool John Moores University in the UK.