Adding a fourth asset to the portfolio of its $80 million Ascent Rift Valley Fund, East Africa-focused private equity firm Ascent Capital is making an investment in Kisumu Concrete Products, a Kenyan construction materials manufacturer. Neither the amount of capital invested nor the size of the stake acquired were disclosed.
The Ascent Rift Valley Fund closed in 2014, handily beating its original $50 million target, garnering commitments from a range of international institutional investors and development finance institutions. Significantly, first-time investment commitments from local pension funds such as Kenya Power and Lighting Company and Nation Media Group were also part of the investor mix.
Typically, Ascent looks to invest between $2 million and $10 million in small and medium-sized businesses that look set to benefit from the expansion in demand from Africa’s growling class of middle class consumers. The fund is sector agnostic, having backed companies in sectors as diverse as pharmaceuticals and mobile money.
The capital will be used to increase the company’s production capacity and help it continue to improve the quality of its products and implement international quality standards. In achieving these goals, the company will be able to expand its market share in the region, which is reportedly experiencing something of a construction and real estate boom driven largely by the growth in population as well as a growth in economic activity resulting from infrastructure development initiatives.
Kisumu Concrete Products has been operating for almost 40 years, manufacturing a wide range of building products used by the construction industry including concrete block, roof tiling materials, concrete paving and several pre-cast concrete items. Up until this point, which is headquartered in the capital of Kenya’s Western Region, in the firm has been family-owned and operated. As part of the investment, Ascent Capital will take a seat on the company’s board