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Weekly Wrap, March 7th, 2016; Actis, GIC, Goldman Sachs and others make private capital news last week

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Last week in brief…March 7th, 2016

What it may have lacked in terms of volume, private equity activity made up for in terms of value last week in Africa. In the biggest deal of the week, Actis agreed the sale of its electronic payment processor ‘buy and build’ platform Emerging Markets Payments to Network International for $340 million, giving the emerging markets investor a full exit from the group it helped found in 2010. The transaction marks Network International’s first acquisition since its own significant stakeholder change in November last year when The Abraaj Group sold its 49% holding to Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic.

Africa Internet Group added Goldman Sachs to their roster of blue chip investors with the news that the bank’s Special Situations Group is taking part in a €300 million funding round along with the ecommerce group’s existing investors. Information on the specific amounts each investor contributed were not available. The capital will be used to strengthen the firm’s balance sheet as well as fund the Rocket Internet-owned company’s expansion plans into other markets.

On the fundraising front, Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC is making its first commitment to real estate in Africa by backing two of the larger real estate funds that are in the market at the moment with $100 million according to a report in PERE. Actis and RMB Westport are both targeting $400 million for their latest real estate sector funds and while no details were given as to how much of the $100 million each fund will receive, GIC’s position as one of the world’s most-respected institutional real estate investor suggests the move will catch the eye of the international private real estate markets and arouse additional interest in the continent’s real estate opportunity.

Meanwhile, Dubai-based TVM Healthcare Partners has launched its third emerging markets private equity fund, looking to raise $300 million to put to work in North Africa, the Middle East, India and  Southeast Asia. The fund is planning to make up to 12 growth capital investments in healthcare companies and already has a robust pipeline of attractive deals in the sector.

The news that everyone was half-expecting was confirmed last week. To wit, Barclays is selling down its holdings in Africa over the next 2 to 3 years, giving the Banking group’s former CEO Bob Diamond’s financial investment platform, Atlas Mara, the opportunity to acquire certain assets. The Financial Times reports that Diamond is already in preliminary talks with global investors to raise capital to acquire the Barclays operations outside of South Africa. Sovereign Wealth Funds in the Middle East and Asia are thought to be the most likely sources of funding. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, given that Atlas Mara’s current market cap is only worth about 15% of the value of the assets it is reportedly looking to acquire.

And finally this week, a new report out from the World Bank and Bloomberg New Energy Finance in collaboration with the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association estimates that sales of off-grid solar products in emerging markets will hit $3 billion by 2020, rising several-fold from the $276 million in sales recorded in 2015. The report finds that increasing numbers of development partners and investors are committing significant capital to businesses, particularly those with pay-as-you-go business models.

As always, you can review these and other stories by clicking through to this week’s complete issue of Africa Capital Digest.

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