Last week in brief...A strong exit for Phatisa leads the deal news from Africa this week. The private equity firm has sold part of its holding in Kanu, a pan-African agricultural and construction equipment distributor, to Adenia Partners who now hold a controlling stake in the firm. While the precise terms of the deal were no clarified, Phatisa reports that the secondary sale has earned it strong return on an investment it originally made in 2016.
Meanwhile the strongest performance on the fundraising front came courtesy of A.P. Moller Capital, an affiliate of the Maersk shipping line family’s A.P. Moller Holding, which announced an additional $215 million in commitments to its Africa Infrastructure Fund from a group of Scandanavian pension funds. The news brings the total amount promised to the fund to $865 million, some $135 million shy of its planned $1 billion target. The fund held a first close of $550 million in August last year.
Development finance institutions featured largely in deals last week. Canada's new development finance institution FinDev Canada announced it had made its first investment last week, backing off-grid solar power provider M-KOPA with $10 million. The deal for the “pay-as-you-go” energy provider is part of a larger, undisclosed investment round being made by a group of follow-on investors led by the UK's DFI, CDC Group. Canada’s Government launched the Montreal-based development finance institution in May last year.
Sticking with the solar sector, if of a different magnitude, it was announced that the debt financing required by Scatec Solar to begin constructing a 40MW solar plant near the Mozambican city of Mocuba has now been finalized. The close sees the IFC and Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund provide the $55 million debt financing package between them. Of the $55 million of debt, $19 million is being provided from the IFC’s own account, $19 million being provided by Climate Investment Funds and up to $17 million being provided by EAIF.
Having announced plans to list on both the London and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges in early April, private equity-backed Helios Towers has shelved them for the time being. According to a statement, the potential IPO “...met with considerable institutional investor interest...” but the existing shareholders, which include Helios Investment Partners, Soros Fund Management, Quantum Strategic Partners and the IFC have decided not to proceed with the offering.
Wefarm, a free peer-to-peer service that enables farmers to share information via SMS, has secured $5 million in additional seed funding. The round was led by Silicon Valley-based True Ventures and counts several high profile tech founders among its co-investors. These include Skype and Atomico Founder Niklas Zennström, WordPress Founder Matt Mullenweg and Blue Bottle Coffee CEO Bryan Meehan.
Finally, Omidyar Network has a new Managing Partner. Mike Kubzansky, who joined Omidyar in 2013, is taking over from Matt Bannick, who is stepping aside after eleven years at the helm. Bannick will remain on the impact investor's board of directors.
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.