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Weekly Wrap, November 23rd, 2015; Flexpoint Ford, Actis, Amethis and others make private capital news

Last week in brief…November 23rd, 2015 

Veling, the aircraft leasing company headquartered in Mauritius, was the beneficiary of an equity infusion from Flexpoint Ford last week. The $2.3 billion private equity manager, operating from offices in Chicago and New York, provided an undisclosed amount of capital to to support the purchase and leaseback of $1 billion of commercial aircraft over the next 2 years. So we can reasonably assume it wasn’t chump change. New York-based merchant bank Berenson & Co. also participated in the deal, building on an existing relationship with the 13 year old firm.

In the real estate sector the big news was the sale of Ikeja City Mall, the largest retail and leisure development in Nigeria’s capital, Lagos, to a couple of South African property investors, The deal affords the mall’s private equity investors a full exit from the asset with all three of the Mall’s stakeholders selling their stakes. Actis, the emerging markets private equity fund manager who sourced and developed the project with local investor Paragon Holdings and RMB Westport in 2008, was the majority shareholder with a 60% stake, while Paragon and RMB Westport each held a 20% share. The deal gives the Mall’s acquirers–Hyprop Investments and Attacq–their first foothold in the Nigerian market.

Amethis Finance announced its tenth deal from its $530 million fund last week, taking a minority stake in the HMAO Group, a healthcare group that owns and operates clinics and laboratories in the Côte d’Ivoire. The investment backs HMAO’s management in their buyout of the stake owned by Saham Santé, a division of Saham Group, the Moroccan conglomerate backed by, among others, The Abraaj Group, Wendel and the IFC. With this deal, Amethis has now called 70% of the capital for its private equity fund which closed in mid-2014.

In venture capital investment news, two U.S. based investors, North Base Media and CRE Venture Capital, are investing $1.35 million in Asoko Insight, a provider of corporate information and intelligence on Africa’s growth markets. The capital will be used to expand the firm’s research capabilities in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana. And in Nigeria, Travelbeta, an online travel agency landed $2 million in a seed funding round led by local investor Altheus and a number of, as yet unnamed, private investors. Proceeds of the round will be used to boost the firm’s marketing activities, improve the firm’s technology platform, especially with regard to mobile functionality, and recruit more employees.

In Dubai last week, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce‘s annual Africa Global Business Forum took place, prompting the publication of a couple of interesting buts of research and perspective. The Chamber itself published a study highlighting the findings that private equity co-investments, the acquisition of private equity-owned assets as well as direct buyouts and buying minority stakes in privately-held companies are the most significant modes of market entry for its members interested in investing in sub-Saharan Africa. With the exception of South Africa, public market investments in other sub-Saharan countries remain of limited interest to Gulf investors.

And DP World, the owner and operator of ports around the world, published some perspective on the infrastructure investment challenge faced by the continent, which, despite a sharp increase in investment and the completion of some notable projects, is failing to keep up with the continent’s strong economic growth. The report highlights the importance of the role played by public-private partnerships, domestic bond financing and the need to monitor the life cycle of infrastructure by maintaining and upgrading existing stock to help enhance trade integration and improve trade facilitation.

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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