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Fairfax Africa garners $500mln in commitments

Fairfax Africa, a new investment holding company that will target investments in both public and private equity and debt opportunities in businesses either focused on or reliant on the continent, announced that it expects to raise a total of $500 million. The investment vehicle is a subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings, a Toronto-based insurer.

Fairfax had hoped to raise as much as $1 billion via an IPO on the Toronto Stock Exchange, but interest has been muted due to Canadian investor risk aversion for the region. According to Bloomberg, Fairfax has received as much as $416 million in commitments from its own funds together with other investors, including the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System and CI Investments.

“We are humbled to have received US$500 million of commitments and to close the books on the Fairfax Africa offering,” said Prem Watsa, Chairman of Fairfax Africa and Chairman and CEO of Fairfax Financial. “I want to personally thank each and every one of the many people who worked tirelessly to get Fairfax Africa launched and also to thank all of the shareholders who have supported this new venture.”

According to regulatory filings, Fairfax has made six investments in Africa including the acquisition of a 7.4% stake in Egypt’s Commercial International Bank from Actis in a $330 million deal as well as investments in Afgri Operations, Africa Re, and APR Energy.

RBC Capital Markets has taken the lead in the share sale.

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