Africa-focused private equity fund Helios Investment Partners has provided a debt facility to Starzs Investments Company, a Nigerian marine logistics company. The size of the facility and terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Starsz has made an initial drawdown of the debt facility in order to acquire the MV Varada Queen, a terminal tugboat which Starzs has been operating on a lease-purchase agreement since 2013.
Alkebulan Ltd. originated the transaction, proposed the initial structure of the agreement and advised Starzs throughout the transaction with Helios. Commenting on the facility, Jonty Levin, a Partner with the financial advisory and structuring specialist said “This facility marks a new milestone for Starzs and the Nigerian maritime industry, and brings much needed growth capital to an indigenous operator in a strategic industry to the oil and gas sector.”
In spite of the headwinds faced by marine support services companies as a result of weaker global oil prices, Starzs is well-positioned in the market as it continues to enjoy the confidence of the international oil companies operating in Nigeria. According to Greg Ogbeifun, the Chairman and CEO of Starzs, the company continues to benefit from tow particular trends; firstly the continued growth of Nigeria’s offshore oil and gas industry and secondly, international oil companies’ increasing tendency to award contracts to indigenous companies following the implementation and enforcement of the Cabotage Act and the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act.
Hogan Lovells acted as legal advisor to Helios, while Consolex acted as legal advisor to Starzs.