Last week in brief… At the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association's annual conference which took place in London last week, comments made by Vicki Fuller, the Chief Investment Officer of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, grabbed everyone's attention. She announced that the pension fund is looking to allocate up to 3% of its assets, or approximately $5 billion, to investments in Africa over the next five years, primarily through infrastructure, private equity, venture capital and real estate funds. As one of the largest pension funds in the United States, and one which has already invested in Africa, this ringing endorsement can only encourage more LPs to look more closely at the opportunities Africa.
In terms of deals last week, Brookstone Partners is looking at potentially investing $750 million in three hydroelectric dam projects in Cote d'Ivoire, according to a report in Reuters. The investments would be made through its portfolio company, Platinum Power, with work on two of the projects beginning as early as the first quarter of 2016. Tower operator Eaton Towers has raised another $350 million in equity from existing shareholders Capital Group Private Markets, Development Partners International as well as the firm's management. They are joined by Ethos Private Equity and Standard Chartered Private Equity, both making their first investments in Eaton this round. The capital is earmarked for further acquisitions and other expansion initiatives across the continent.
Meanwhile, Helios Investment Partners is making a $100 million investment through a private placement in Africa Oil Corp, the Canadian oil and gas company with assets in East Africa. The deal is being transaction through Helios-owned Stampede Natural Resources and gives the firm a 12.37% stake in the company. South African investment company Coast2Coast made its second cash-all deal of the last two weeks by acquiring skin and body care company Annique Health and Beauty through its consumer platform company, Bounty Brands. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. And Atlas Mara announced that it is in exclusive talks to acquire a 45% stake in Banque Populaire du Rwanda for $22.5 million. If the transaction completes, Atlas Mara plans to combine BPR with BRD Commercial, the Rwandan bank it acquired in 2014.
And finally, in trend news, EY and AVCA came out with an update to their report on private equity exits in Africa. The data show that 2014 saw the highest volume of exits for private equity firms since 2007. The authors are confident that momentum will continue as the bumper crop of private equity deals made in 2007 are coming to the end of their investment holding period.
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.