Last week in brief...Well last week proved a quiet week, deal-wise. The second one this year. We've put it down to Winter Break or Half-term in some of the major centres for private capital investing in Africa. Of the deals reported, a couple revolved around portfolio companies. And while no fund closes were reported, the European Investment Bank announced it is mulling a couple of commitments to private equity funds that are currently in the market.
Investec Asset Management announced it has made a follow-on investment in Mobisol, the off-grid solar home system provider which has significant operations in East Africa. As with the private equity firm's initial investment in the company, the Investec-led deal is being done in partnership with two development finance institutions, the IFC and FMO. The fresh capital, which is coming from Investec's second fund, is being earmarked for organic expansion initiatives in Mobisol’s existing markets, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda, as well as a few select new markets.
The first of the two portfolio-related deals involves Acorn Private Equity's investment platform, Acorn Agri. The company looks set to merge with JSE-listed Overberg Agri, creating a significant agribusiness in South Africa once both companies have been combined. The two firms have had a strong strategic relationships going back a number of years. Acorn Agri already holds a 25.6% stake in Overberg Agri and Acorn Private Equity has regularly provided corporate finance and advisory services to Overberg Agri in the past. Once combined it's likely the new entity will list on the JSE as well.
On a couple of occasions over the last twelve months, we've reported on iflix, a private equity-backed video-streaming business in South Asia which began operations in Africa. Now the company has agreed to sell a significant stake in iflix Africa to Kwesé, a pan-African media company. iflix, which raised over $200 million in 2017 from some heavy-hitting media investors, in part to finance its Middle East and Africa expansion plans, has now set up operations in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
The European Investment Bank is mulling a couple of capital commitments to private equity funds that are currently in fundraising mode. Verod Capital Growth III is being considered for an investment by the european development finance institution. The sector-agnostic fund’s strategy will be to back private equity opportunities in SMEs in Anglophone West Africa.
And Inside Capital Partners' first fund is also a potential recipient of the EIB's investment capital. Again, the fund is an SME-focused fund. The investment strategy focuses on backing growth stage companies and building value through a combination of further capital injection and additional management support. Should it be approved, it brings the fund's final close target of $60 million into clearer view.
Late last week The Abraaj Group announced it is overhauling the firm’s governance and operating model and appointing a new leadership team. The reorganization involves the separation of AIML, the emerging markets private equity firm’s fund management business from Abraaj Holdings, with both entities being independently managed. As part of the change, the private equity firm’s founder Arif Naqvi is handing over the reins of AIML to a pair of Co-Chief Executive Officers, whilst retaining a non-executive role on the Abraaj’s investment committee.
In other company news, Africa Merchant Capital is selling its investment management unit to Adventis, an Africa-focused investment management firm which was co-founded by Rupert McCammon and Joseph Rohm in late 2016. Jonathan Kruger, a founding portfolio manager and analyst Michael Ashaolu both join the Adventis team and will continue to run the re-christened Adventis Africa Equity Fund.
Finally Old Mutual Alternative Investments has tapped one of its own to head up its impact funds business. Zom Chizura, who has been with Old Mutual since 1999, takes over the alternative investment manager’s business managing funds that back opportunities in affordable housing, education and SMME companies. Most recently, he'd been the Chief Executive Officer of Old Mutual West Africa, working out of Lagos.
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.