Last week in brief… With Easter and Passover celebrations in full swing, the last week was generally a quiet one for private equity, infrastructure and venture capital investors focused on Africa. Of the deals that were announced, the biggest was an exit--Mezzanine fund manager Vantage Capital and Dutch development finance organization, FMO, exited their stakes in Safripol, the South African plastic polymer manufacturer in a R300 million ($43.5 million) deal. Vantage made its original investment in July 2007 from its first mezzanine fund, providing Thebe Investment Corporation with capital to allow the black economic empowerment investment company to take a significant minority interest in the plastics manufacturer. Vantage Capital's and FMO's stakes were refinanced out by a combination of senior funding provided by South African institutions and Thebe Investment’s own funds.

In other exit news, investment holding firm Stellar Capital has acquired Blackstar’s 16.45% stake in JSE-listed asset management firm Cadiz for an undisclosed sum. Blackstar first invested in the company last November, and since then has pushed for the firm reduce its bloated cost base. This latest move comes on the heels of a number significant investor changes at the firm including the buyout last month of stakes owned by founders Ray and Frank Cadiz by a management-led consortium.

As far as investments were concerned, Kenyan private equity firm Fanisi Capital invested $2.1 million in European Foods Africa Ltd., a medium-sized local food and distribution firm that provides pizza, berries and fresh juices. The capital will be used to expand the company’s distribution network and improve its operational systems and processes. The size of the stake acquired went unreported.

Sources tell Bloomberg that London-based Helios Investment Partners is planning to raise a $300 million fund to target opportunities in the oil industry, where the slump in oil prices has reduced company valuations. According to the report, the company told investors that it sees particular opportunity in Nigeria, Egypt and Gabon. Meanwhile, B2B venture builder Hatcher is launching a $100 million fund to target growth opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa. Hatcher's CEO tells Disrupt Africa that he anticipates rolling out the program in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia in 2016. And Cordiant Capital, the Canada-based emerging market private debt manager is providing $15 million in debt funding to SA Taxi Development Finance, an asset based lender in South Africa. SA Taxi provides loans for to acquire minibuses, and has financed over 20,000 vehicles in South Africa. The loan was written from Cordiant’s Emerging Loan Fund IV, which targets floating rate loan opportunities in emerging markets.

A number of perspective pieces proved interesting last week. Firstly, following on from the publication in March of a paper on infrastructure financing in Africa, The Brookings Institution posted an article on their website highlighting the 5 key trends driving financing on the continent. And in Euromoney, an article on how, with better understanding of one another's fund mandates and investment targets as well as increased collaboration between fund managers investing in assets on the continent, the volume and value of deals could, perhaps, be even greater.

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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