Last week in brief...Debt investing provided much of the action in what was quietish week in Africa's private capital markets. Certainly compared with the prior week, anyway. And all investments tended toward the smaller end of the scale. But there were a couple of "firsts", evidence that the sector continues to evolve.
The deal we lead with this week took place in Nigeria. And it was a first for the investor, TLG Capital, who were making their first deal in Africa's largest economy. TLG's Credit Opportunities Fund invested $11.5 million in Grace Lake Partners or GLP, an investment and advisory firm based in Lagos.
The financing will allow GLP to invest growth capital in advertising, medical and pharmaceutical retail and data analytics businesses throughout West Africa. The deal gives TLG Capital a broader exposure to Nigeria through all of GLP's businesses in the country, including its very recent flagship investment in JCDecaux Grace Lake, a subsidiary of global outdoor advertising giant JC Decaux.
In another debt financing, OPIC, the US Government's development finance institution, is backing CrossBoundary Energy in a deal which will help fund six captive solar photovoltaic projects which the platform is are currently developing. The platform finances, builds, owns and operates the captive solar system on behalf of its clients, who are either multinational and local commercial or industrial businesses. They sign long term power purchase agreements to buy the solar-generated electricity without having to make an upfront investment or absorb the technical risk of construction and maintenance of the units.
On the debt fundraising side, we got news of a new trade finance fund this week. Qbera Capital, which was established last year, has announced the launch of its first private credit fund. The London-based investor has already secured some initial commitments for the Trade Finance Fund, an open-ended Cayman master feeder fund, which will be used to finance trade linked to real economy sectors in emerging and frontier markets. Africa is one of its emphases.
The biggest, but frustratingly, unspecific deal of the week came from Egypt. Swvl, an Egyptian mass transportation app startup has reportedly raised a significant amount of capital for its Series B, mainly from its existing investor base. While declining to put a precise figure on the size of the investment, Mostapha Kandil, Swvl's CEO and co-founder, told Forbes that the round was considerably oversubscribed and ran into the "tens of millions of dollars".
BitPesa, a pan-African bitcoin payments started up backed by a number of high-profile investors, has landed an investment from one of Japan's largest insurance companies, Sompo Holdings. The deal, which forms part of an overall strategic partnership between the two firms to boost the digitization of international financial services, sees Sompo reportedly invest equity in the firm.
It seems Sompo was attracted to BitPesa’s market position as well as its capabilities in Africa to develop and distribute financial products. It helps that BitPesa is also growing rapidly in a number of markets, across Africa as well as in Europe and elsewhere.
Finally, Phatisa has appointed a pioneer of African private equity to be its Chief Investment Officer. Eugene Stals, who, whilst a Senior Partner at Ethos in the 1990s played a leading role in the industry in South Africa, joins the firm to lead the investor's food-focused regional deal teams, who will soon be putting to work some of the $121.5 million it has raised so far for for its second food fund.
That's it for this week. As always, you can review these and other stories by clicking through to this week's preview edition of the newsletter.
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.