Deals in Africa involving private equity-backed portfolio companies feature prominently this week, as they did last. We lead with news that Wilderness Holdings, a listed ecotourism group backed by TPG Growth's Rise Fund last year, looks like it will be taken private. African Wildlife Holdings Partnership announced an offer to acquire all the outstanding ordinary share capital not currently owned by themselves, The Rise Fund and an additional party. Already shareholders representing about 62% of the firm's ownership have given guarantees they'll sell.
Denham Capital-backed Themis is partnering with Kingline Development to develop a natural gas-fired power plant in Nigeria. The project aims to reach financial close by the end of the second quarter next year and to become fully operational in 2020. The equity portion of the project will be fully funded by the existing partners, with Denham Capital being the majority stakeholder, likely through its International Power Fund.
One of South Africa's leading poultry producers is adding a Midrand hatchery to its portfolio of business units. Sovereign Foods, which was taken private by Capitalworks early last year, is buying Blue Hills Hatchery for an undisclosed amount of money. The move reinforces Sovereign's supply of day-old chicks, reducing the costs of buying them on the open market. The hatchery produces 660,000 eggs each week, delivering over half a million chicks to Sovereign and its contract farmers in and around the firm's abattoir facility.
SPEAR Capital has announced the completion of the first deal for their second fund. The Africa-focused private equity fund is taking a significant minority stake in Peries Foods, a producer and retailer of chicken and processed meats based in South Africa. The fresh capital will be used to support the company's expansion plans which involve developing new products suitable for export to a few select countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Kibo Capital Partners has agreed to make an equity investment in a venture investment company that backs tech companies in East and West Africa. The Mauritius-headquartered private equity firm is taking a stake in Saviu Ventures which is based in Paris and has a presence in Nairobi and Abidjan. Part of Saviu's attraction to Kibo is that the balance sheet investor gives them exposure to a clutch of different technology plays rather than single early or later stage tech opportunities which might be more pricey.
In the solar sector, Verod Capital is teaming up with Persistent Energy to back Daystar Power, a West African solar power generation company. Between them, the two investors are taking a minority stake in the firm. The fresh capital, buttressed by a some additional debt financing that's been lined up separately, will be used to expand the firm's deployments across several countries in the region.
Meanwhile, solar home system distributor PEG Africa has raised $25 million of combined debt and equity in a financing round led by CDC Group. The UK's development finance institution is providing the lion's share of the financing round, committing $12.55 million as local currency debt to PEG and catalyzing further debt from SunFunder and ElectriFi. Reportedly, some $5 million of the round is being invested as equity from a group of investors including Energy Access Ventures, Blue Haven Initiative, Investisseurs & Partenaires, Acumen Fund, Total Energy Ventures, and the Renewable Energy Performance Platform.
In venture capital news, FlexClub, a managed marketplace connecting ride-hailing drivers and investors with vehicle finance solutions in South Africa, raised a healthy amount of seed capital in a round led by CRE Ventures in January. The company, which was founded last year by two former Uber executives, will use the money raised to hire more people in South Africa as well as launch its services in Mexico. The other investors participating in the round are Michael Jordaan's Montegray Capital and Mbwana Alliy's Savannah Fund.
And finally, the only bit of fundraising news also came from the venture sector. The European Investment Bank is considering a commitment to a new Abidjan-based startup fund. The Janngo Capital Startup fund could be in line for an investment of as much 20% of its final target, which will be invested in digital and technology startups in West Africa.
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.