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Weekly Wrap, June 1st, 2015; SCPE-backed GZI, Gulf Capital, EchoVC, Omidyar and more make private capital news

Image Credit: BioTherm Energy

Last week in brief…June 1st, 2015

Most of the notable announced deal news in Africa’s private equity, infrastructure and venture capital sectors last week was made by portfolio companies rather than the funds themselves. In fact, as far as direct fund investments were concerned, activity was decidedly light. With the exception of a $25 million debt finance deal by Gulf Capital, there were no other transactions undertaken directly by funds.

The largest deal was GZ Industries acquisition of Frigoglass SAIC’s glass operations in a deal worth $225 million. The transaction allows Standard Chartered Private Equity-backed GZI to expand its customer offering significantly, by adding glass, plastic crates and bottle crown packaging options alongside its core aluminum beverage can offering. The deal is expected to close in the second-half of the year.

In South Africa meanwhile, solar and wind project developer BioTherm Energy, a portfolio investment of Denham Capital, sold a controlling interest in three of its operational plants to SunEdison for an undisclosed amount. And another Denham Capital asset, Africa-focused Endeavor Energy, has signed a JV agreement with Starenergie2073 to develop the Songon Gas-to-power project near Abidjan, the capital of Cote d’Ivoire. Endeavor will provide construction management, fuel management and commercial management services to develop purpose-built liquefied natural gas import infrastructure and constructing a floating storage and regasification unit, earning a majority of the project’s equity.

It was a venture capital deal that generated the most press interest last week, however. EchoVC and Omidyar Network participated in a $1.2 million Series A round for Nigerian hotel booking website,, a significant amount for a start-up n Africa. In 2013 the company was backed by with $225,000 in seed capital. Neither the size of the stakes nor the valuation of the company were disclosed.

A number of macro data points garnered some interest last week. The latest Africa Outlook report from the OECD, African Development Bank and United Nations Development Program predicts that the content’s growth rate will be 4.5% in 2015, rising to 5% next year. East Africa is the region with the fastest growth, while West Africa is showing an impressive recovery from the Ebola crisis.  South Africa is a drag on the overall number, its growth compromised by labor disputes and energy shortages. And Standard & Poor’s published its Africa Outlook report detailing the latest sovereign credit ratings. Several oil exporters, not surprisingly, suffer credit downgrades, while others are awarded a more stable outlook.

And finally, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina, took 60% of the vote to win the election to be the African Development Bank’s next President. The Bank is one of the continent’s largest lending institutions, making loans and grants totaling $3.16 billion in 2013 to infrastructure projects across Africa. He takes over from the institution’s current President, Donald Kaberuka, who steps down at the end of August after serving two 5-year terms in the role.

You can read more on these and other stories by clicking through to the complete issue of this week’s newsletter.

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