Last week in brief... In an otherwise quiet week, most deals in Africa last week involved the private equity companies themselves. The Abraaj Group announced that is is buying Themis, a 3-year old project development company that provides structuring and financing to economic, industrial and social infrastructure assets in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. How much they paid for the company remains undisclosed. The deal establishes a dedicated project development arm for Abraaj which will use the private equity group's existing capabilities and resources to originate, develop and manage energy projects from conceptual to operational stages.

The second private equity firm deal involves the formation of EXEO Capital, a 50/50 partnership between the founders and managers of Agri-Vie, the South African Food and Agribusiness investor and STANLIB, the pan-African asset manager. The motivation for the partnership includes STANLIB's goal to add a private equity offering to its alternative investment platform and Agri-Vie's wish to access STANLIB's continental network to help its expansion into Sub-Saharan Africa. EXEO Capital’s investment team is made up of Agri-Vie professionals who will continue to manage Agri-Vie's funds, the first of which is fully deployed and entering the harvesting phase, while the second, Agri-Vie II, is currently being raised and is anticipated to hold a $75 million first close early in the second quarter. It's ultimately aiming to raise a total of $175 million with a $200 million hard cap.

Transcentury, the Kenyan infrastructure investor, received a $20 million equity injection from Kuramo Capital Partners last week which will help it settle a convertible bond that becomes due on March 25th. The capital will complement some as yet "undefined funding options" that are required to meet the total $75 million in debt that falls due this coming Friday.

Following a successful pilot of its digital advertising network in filling stations in Lagos, S&T Media is being backed with $1 million by early stage venture capital firm EchoVC Partners. The company's AdPump service has secured sole distribution rights for the installation of 22-inch in-pump digital screens to provide advertising-supported content to consumers purchasing petrol/gas at the pump. According to PwC, Nigeria’s advertising market is currently worth about $500 million a year, and has been growing rapidly at a compound rate of 15.1%. In addition to striking deals with a number of large advertisers and partners, AdPump is also planning to open the digital advertising space to the Nigeria’s SME market by rolling out an online purchasing tool for those with smaller advertising-spend budgets.

The Financial Times ran an interesting profile on one of East Africa's most-talked about companies, M-Kopa. The firm is an off-grid solar power provider that now has more than 300,000 customers, a total which it aims to increase by 4,500 each week between now and 2017. The company has excited the interest of investors, having raised about $30 million in equity and $25 million in debt to date.

And finally, Riscura and the East African Venture Capital Association have published East Africa's first deal dashboard, showing that the total value of the region's deals in 2015 had almost tripled from the prior year. Kenya saw the most deals of the countries in the region, while the financial services, consumer-related and energy sectors attracted the most capital. While the totals are still small, the trend is upward, for the moment.

Allan Cunningham

Allan Cunningham

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.

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