Last week in brief…August 17th, 2015
If there was a common theme to the private equity investment news coming out of Africa last week, it was sector-based. Financial Technology or Fintech to be precise. A number of deal and fundraising announcements concerned this important emerging markets investment sector.
In deal news, Investec Asset Management‘s whirl of activity of recent weeks continued, seemingly without pause. It announced that it had agreed to take a “significant stake” in wiGroup, the South African mobile point-of-sale company which was founded in 2007. The fresh capital will be used to help the firm’s founding management team expand the company’s services into the rest of the Africa. Meanwhile, Investec also made a notable fundraising announcement last week when its Africa Credit Opportunities Fund I held a final close at $226 million with commitments from a range of institutional investors and financial institutions in Europe, North America and Africa. The fund, which aims to provide growth capital to African companies, is the first dedicated African credit and debt markets fund, and hence somewhat pioneering.
Back on the fintech theme, new private equity manager Apis Partners announced that it had held a $157 million first close for its debut fund. Launched in mid-2014 with a target cap of between $250 million and $300 million, Apis Growth Fund I will invest in fintech opportunities in Africa and South Asia. And Convergence Partners is putting some of the capital it raised for its $200 million ICT fund a couple of weeks ago to work with a $20 million investment in Venture Garden Nigeria, a diversified fintech company with extensive operations in Nigeria. The deal is the first transaction in West Africa for Convergence, who are looking to help the company expand its footprint from Nigeria into the broader region.
In other fund raising news, Momentum Global Investment Management hit $150 million for the second close of its Africa Real Estate Fund which was launched in January this year. The fund, which is aiming to close in mid 2016 with a cap of $250 million, is looking to invest in retail, commercial and light industrial property in sub-Saharan Africa, ex South Africa. According to the company, it already has a healthy pipeline of potential developments that it is considering.
A couple of interesting interviews caught our eye last week – in the first, Brad Mills of Plinian Capital, the mining-sector focused investor, talked to mineweb.com about his firm, its current investments, its preferred investment criteria and the broader opportunity for private equity investors in Africa’s mines. And in the second, Paul Hinks, the CEO of Symbion Power talks to AllAfrica about his firm’s investment strategy for Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, as well as developments it has underway in the rest of Africa.
As always, you can review these and other stories by clicking through to this week’s complete issue of Africa Capital Digest.