Last week in brief… In term's of private equity activity in Africa last week, deals were slow and muted. No transactions involving direct investments by fund managers were reported. We had to look to a portfolio company acquisition to fly the flag instead.

Rhodes Food Group, the JSE-listed company in which private equity investor Capitalworks holds a 25% stake, announced the acquisition of Ma Baker, a South African pie producer for R212 million or $15.7 million. The transaction is the eighth and largest deal undertaken by Rhodes Food Group since it listed in 2014. Ma Baker was established in 1987, since when it has has expanded organically and via two acquisitions to post revenues of R248 million (approximately $18.3 million) with an EBITDA of R24 million in its last financial year.

Fundraising activity was also sparse last week. There was one fund close, however, which was on the smaller side. Impact investment firm Capria Ventures has held a final close for its Accelerator Fund, which at $5.2 million, was oversubscribed. Bill Gates, Ceniarth, Sorenson Impact Foundation, Aarin Capital Partners and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) were among the investors backing the fund.

The IFC was also involved in the only other piece of fundraising news last week. The DFI is proposing to commit $10 million to Maris Capital’s planned $70 million investment vehicle Africa Logistics Properties. Africa Logistics Properties (ALP) will focus its investments on developing and managing Grade A warehouses in sub-Saharan Africa. In ALP’s first investment phase, Nairobi-based Maris Capital plans to develop three new projects at key strategic sites around the Kenyan capital. Future phases are expected to include the development of other warehousing assets in other parts of Kenya as well as the broader Sub-Saharan African region.

Standard Chartered’s Private Equity unit is reportedly going to be wound down rather than sold to its executives, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. Discussions for a possible management buyout had been taking place but they ground to a halt last week. Instead, the bank will look to sell down its $5 billion portfolio over the next two years. This involves seeking outside buyers for stakes in around 80 companies in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Of the firm's $5 billion private equity portfolio, $2 billion are stakes owned by Standard Chartered itself while the balance are assets being managed by the private equity unit on behalf of outside investors.

In trend news, the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association released its Spotlight on Private Equity investing in North Africa last week. Between 2010 and the first half of 2016, 139 private equity deals worth $4.2 billion were reported in North Africa. Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt continued to garner the lion’s share of investment activity, accounting for 95% of the deal volume in the region. The report finds that North Africa’s proximity to Europe, its strong commercial and diplomatic ties with France, a strong manufacturing base and expanding middle class demand for products and services in sectors such as healthcare, education and retail are all key drivers of the region’s attractiveness for investors.

And finally, there were a number of notable job appointments announced at notable firms last week. Actis has tapped Glen Matsumoto as a Partner for its Real Assets business. He was previously at EQT Partners. Tim Franks is joining KKR's EMEA private equity unit in February next year. He'll head their consumer and retail coverage. And Joel Kibazo is joining FTI Consulting from the African Development Bank. As a Managing Director based in London, his prime focus will be on business development for the firm across Africa.

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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