Last week in brief...As the year draws to a close, we have a couple of its more notable deals to report this week. Actis gave us the biggest transaction of the last seven days. They're selling Compuscan, Africa's largest full-service credit bureau and information services provider to Experian in what must be a significant exit. Actis declined to discuss the return the sales will earn them.
Actis first backed Compuscan in 2014 as the first acquisition for its newly formed platform company, Credit Services Holding, a buy-and-build credit services business. The deal is expected to complete next year, once its been reviewed and approved by the competition regulator in South Africa.
The biggest investment of the week comes to us courtesy of CDC Group. The UK's development finance institution is backing Liquid Telecom, Africa’s largest independent fibre and cloud provider, in what is the largest equity investment for CDC in some three years. The fresh capital will be used by Liquid Telecom to expand the availability of high-speed broadband connectivity to some of Africa’s most under-served communities as well as support the continent’s thriving tech start-up ecosystem with high-speed internet and cloud-based services.
Odey Asset Management is joining the roster of investors in JUMO, bringing the fintech’s latest funding round to a formal close. The London-based investment firm is investing $12.5 million, adding to the $52 million already raised for the round from a group of investors led by Goldman Sachs a couple of months ago. Odey’s CEO, James Hanbury, takes a seat on JUMO’s board as part of the deal.
The new capital will be used to support JUMO’s development plans for its technology platform, deepen its data capabilities, specifically in applied ML and AI innovation to accelerate financial inclusion, and expand into new markets, an initiative which also sees the firm’s CEO, Andrew Watkins-Ball, re-locate to Singapore push growth in Asia.
DOB Equity announced the addition of another agricultural business to its portfolio last week. The investment, which is a combined equity and debt deal, is described as being a mid-sized transaction and gives DOB a substantial minority stake in Coconut Holdings, a Kenya-based producer and owner of the Kentaste branded range of coconut-based products. The transaction will allow the company to expand its processing facilities, launch new products and further develop its sales across the wider East Africa region.
There were a couple of debt deals last week. FMO, the Dutch development bank and Symbiotics, an investment group, announced a package of debt financing for ZOLA Electric. Between them, the two investors are providing $32.5 million to the off grid solar provider, which was formerly known as Off Grid Electric.
The capital will be used to expand ZOLA Electric’s service delivery in Tanzania over the next 5 years, providing an additional 145,500 households who do not have access to a reliable and affordable grid with a reliable power supply. Today ZOLA provides power to over 1 million customers in 5 countries and employs more than 1,000 people.
Lendable, a venture-backed funding provider to alternative lenders in frontier markets, announced it has closed a secured, dual tranche, 36 month note program last week. The note program is Lendable’s second fund raise of secured pass-through notes backed by consumer, SME, solar and productive asset loans originated by Sub-Saharan alternative lenders using mobile payment technology.
It’s the first institutional investor-led found for Lendable, and was backed by Prudential Financial, who are making their first foray into sub-Saharan African credit, Ceniarth, Calvert Impact Capital, Sarona Asset Management and Variant Investments.
AHL Venture Partners has led a group of investors backing Rent to Own, a Zambian business that provides rural micro-entrepreneurs with high impact equipment. The seed round, which sees AHL significantly increase its investment in the firm, also saw participation from Small Foundation and Serenity Investments.
Rent to Own offers Zambia’s small-scale entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers a unique “all-in-one” package of uncollateralized financing, delivery, installation, and training in the use of equipment that completely changes the dynamic of their operations. The company reached its first operationally break-even months in the last two quarters of 2018 and is ready to expand further in Zambia and beyond. It’s expected that the firm will hold a Series A investment round at some point in the first half of 2019.
In fundraising news, CDC Group is making a commitment to a co-investment vehicle managed by Momentum Global Investment Management which will back real estate developments in sub-Saharan Africa alongside the Momentum Africa Real Estate Fund or MAREF. The fund, which held a $170 million final close in February 2017, is targeting a net IRR of 18% for its investors by building an investment portfolio of office blocks, shopping malls and warehouses in sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa.
Last Friday, South Africa’s Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant, announced the launch of an investment fund targeting small business startups. The Project Development Partnership Fund will focus its investment activities on seed and growth capital for small businesses, with particular priority given to companies in several sectors including the agribusiness, bioscience, mining, manufacturing, ICT, financial services and social infrastructure, water and related services.
And finally, in people moves news, SGG Group, the Luxembourg-headquartered investor services firm, has announced the appointment of a new Managing Director for Mauritius. Sridhar Nagarajan will take up the position in mid-to-late January, once necessary regulatory approvals have been received. In his new role, he will be responsible for driving SGG’s ambitious Africa expansion strategy forward from its base in Mauritius where it employs over 300 people. He will report to Christiaan Van Houtven, SGG’s Group Chief Operating Officer.
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.