Harith General Partners, managers of Pan African Infrastructure Development 2, have agreed to acquire a 30% stake in Sheltam Mauritius, a rail operator which owns and operates one of the largest privately-owned fleet of mainline locomotives throughout Southern Africa. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Immediately prior to Harith’s investment, the company restructured its shareholder debt obligations, in the the process of which, Principle Capital, a private investment firm with offices in Europe and South Africa, emerged as the company’s controlling shareholder. Bryan Myerson, Principle Capital’s Chairman welcomed Harith’s investment saying, “We are delighted to have concluded the transaction with Harith. Sheltam has always had great technical ability, the company now has the financial capacity to make a meaningful difference to the railway industry in Africa”.
In the first instance, the deal allows the firm to bring some planned projects to conclusion. These include a substantial reinvestment in the firm’s existing fleet of locomotives, the purchase of an additional three General Electric C30EMP locomotives with backing from the Principle Capital-managed PME Infrastructure Fund as well as starting the development of Sheltam’s own workshop, which is ultimately expected to cost R115 million.
Additionally, Sheltam is soon expected to announce the formation of a dedicated rolling stock leasing company and a rail projects platform, both initiatives designed to help the company further its ambition of being a significant rail operator on the continent. The leasing company will offer lease finance and off balance sheet financing solutions which will complement the sales and marketing activities of the locomotive, wagon and commuter rail OEM’s active on the continent of Africa, while the rail projects platform will invest in concession companies, rail track upgrades and new build projects and investments into associated infrastructure.
“In Sheltam we see a company with outstanding technical ability that has stood the test of time,”said Emile du Toit, Head of Pan African Infrastructure Development 2 . “Importantly we see Sheltam as a solid platform for growth and development that we can work together with to unlock rail projects in South Africa and across the continent”