The week in brief…January 19th, 2015
If there was a common theme this week for private capital in Africa, it was exits. Or partial exits to be exact. After grabbing the headlines the week before last with news of their record breaking $1.1billion Africa-focused fund, Helios Investment Partners were at it again last week. Grabbing more headlines that is. Norfininvest AS is paying $258 million for half of their stake in Kenya’s largest bank by customers, Equity Bank, earning Helios a bumper return on the value of their initial investment for this stake in 2007, which was estimated at $60 million.
In dollar value terms, the biggest potential exit or exits was made by Standard Chartered. It was reported that their Principal Investments unit is close to selling a portfolio of private equity investments valued at $600 million. Sources tell Bloomberg that an agreement has, in fact, been reached with an investor, whose identity is not being revealed for the time-being. The bundle of assets in question is located in Asia and the Middle East as well as Africa. It seems we’ll have to wait for the deal to close to find out more. This is the second such transaction for Standard Chartered in relatively recent past, having sold a $500 million portfolio of assets to an investor group led by Coller Capital last year.
You may remember that, in December, The Abraaj Group successfully sold a 21% stake in Egyptian medical services company Integrated Diagnostic Holdings, (IDH), to private equity firm Actis for an undisclosed amount. Now it seems that Abraaj and other investors have a further exit opportunity from the company. It was announced last week that IDH is planning a listing on the London Stock Exchange in February, the first Egyptian firm to do so for a number of years. According to the Financial Times, shareholders will list up to 45% of the company’s shares, including a 15% overallotment option. The company is expected to raise up to $300 million through the listing and have a market capitalization of $750 million.
Tunisia became the latest African country to lay out plans to tap the credit markets in 2015. The Central Bank’s Governor unveiled plans to raise $1.75 billion through a mix of dollar-denominated bonds and sharia-complaint Sukuk debt in 2015. The money raised will be earmarked to stimulate economic growth, without any specifics as to how. Apparently the first bond issue of $750 million could be offered as soon as the end of this month. It may answer some questions as to investors’ continued appetite for African debt as the other, expected market shifts come into play.
There were a number of other interesting items last week. From commitments to Pinebridge’s sub-Saharan fund to TPG’s plans to hire a local team in Africa to perspective from Riscura on the need and ability of Africa’s pension funds to expand beyond traditional investment classes in their asset allocation strategies to include private equity for the first time.
You can review these and other stories by clicking through to this week’s complete issue of Africa Capital Digest.