Last week in brief… While neither won the award for the biggest transaction of the week, two infrastructure deals grabbed people's attention last week. The first had a claim to call itself "the biggest", in this case the biggest off-grid solar deal to date in Africa. Lumos Global, an off-grid solar company operating in Nigeria closed a $90 million round of debt and equity financing.
The equity portion of the transaction was provided by a group of investors led by South African infrastructure investor, Pembani Remgro. Between them, they are putting $40 million to work to support Lumos's expansion plans in Nigeria and eventually within the broader region. United States development finance institution OPIC is providing the balance of the transaction with $50 million in debt funding.
The second infrastructure deal of the week came courtesy of Meridiam. The French infrastructure investment group is backing its second solar plant in Senegal, providing almost €9 million in equity as part of a €43 million deal for the Ten Marina project, a 30MWc photovoltaic center which will be built in the country’s Thiès region, east of the capital, Dakar. DFIs are once again stepping up to the plate to provide the debt component for the transaction. In this case, Proparco and BIO, respectively the French and Belgian development finance institutions, are providing the project with a €34.5 million 18-year loan to support the construction and operation of the plant.
The title of the biggest deal we reported last week actually went to a transaction which took place in early November. Tana Africa Capital has sold its 25% interest in Promasidor Group to Ajinomoto Co. for $399 million. The deal came about as part of the Japanese manufacturer’s $532 million transaction to acquire a 33.3% stake in the privately held FMCG company. Tana Africa had first invested in the seasonings and processed food manufacturer in 2007.
Two Africa-focused private equity fund managers each received confirmation that they are in line for a $100 million commitment to their funds from OPIC last week. In signing off on $700 million in financing and insurance proposals, the DFI's Board of Directors approved fund commitments to Apis Private Equity and Helios Investment Partners.
Apis Growth Fund II, which is targeting up to $400 million, will focus on building a diversified portfolio of growth-stage companies that provide financial services across Africa and Asia to underserved populations, while Helios Credit Partners, which will be $300 million in size, will look to make senior secured and second lien loans to sub-Saharan African companies who need capital for growth, to make acquisitions or to for capital expenditures.
In smaller deal news, Synergy Capital Managers has made its eighth investment for its private equity fund, which closed in excess of $100 million in September last year, backing MSY Analytics in an undisclosed deal. The company, which operates in Nigeria, will use the capital to support its planned roll out across Africa.
Chicago-based impact investment firm Equator Capital is backing Jamii Bora for the second time this year, spending $5.9 million for a 15% stake in the Kenyan bank. In April, this year, Equator Capital teamed up with fellow private equity investor Progression Capital Africa to back Jamii Bora with $12 million. The latest transaction, like the last, is being made through Equator’s ShoreCap II Fund, a Mauritius-based private equity investment vehicle with approximately $80 million in committed capital.
Chanzo Capital, which terms itself an “early stage micro-VC firm”, is looking to raise $50 million for its High-Tech High-Growth fund to invest in rapidly growing technology startups on the continent. it will look for deals in the Fintech, Energytech, Healthtech, Edutech and Agtech sectros and is expected to hold a first close for the fund in December 2017.
In people news, law firm Pinsent Masons is gearing up for the planned opening of its Joburg office in February. Aiming to field the continent's leading infrastructure practice, it's recruited a dozen lawyers from leading South African rivals. And former African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka has been tapped for another senior adviser role, this time with Boston Consulting Group. He will be working with their Public Sector, Social Impact and Financial Services Practices.
To end this week, there was an interesting piece at pharmaexec.com on getting healthcare investing in Africa right. They held a Les Funtleyder, a portfolio manager for E Squared Capital and a consulting partner to Bluecloud Investments, a healthcare-focused private equity investor targeting opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa. It makes for an interesting read.
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.