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Weekly Wrap, November 9th, 2015; Abraaj, Atlas Mara, Silvertree and others make private capital news last week

Last week in brief…November 9th, 2015

In Africa’s private capital investment news last week, The Abraaj Group featured prominently last week.  They were responsible for the most high-profile deal in an otherwise quiet-ish week with the acquisition of majority stakes in two healthcare companies in Morocco; the first, Centre de Traitement Al Kindy, is the largest private oncology clinic in Casablanca, while the second, Clinique Spécialisée Menara, is a leading oncology and diagnostics imaging center in Marrakech. It looks like the plan is to make the two companies the foundation of a newly-formed network of cancer diagnosis and treatment centers in the country and its neighbors. As part of the statement released about the investment, it was announced that their growth strategy could include additional partnerships with international and domestic oncology and diagnostic imaging companies.

The other piece involving Abraaj that caught our attention last week was an interesting profile of the Group, which, as we know, is one of the leading emerging markets investors (or “growth markets investors” to use the private equity group’s preferred term), that will appear in the print edition of Forbes on November 23rd. It explores the background and investment philosophy of a firm that has over 200 investments in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia and has delivered its investors an annual return of 17% since its inception in 2002.

In other deal news, Atlas Mara looks set to acquire the entire share capital of Finance Bank of Zambia (FBZ), that country’s sixth largest bank, for $60 million in cash and 2.6 million shares of Atlas Mara stock. When the deal closes, the financial services investor plans to merge FBZ with its existing portfolio holding, BankABC Zambia, to create Zambia’s largest bank by branch network and 5th largest bank by assets with a combined total of $418 million.

 Qalaa Holdings, formerly known as Citadel Capital, announced the sale of the stakes it holds in two divisions of its subsidiary business unit, ASEC Cement to Misr Cement Quena. The buyer is acquiring a 46.5% stake in ASEC Minya Cement and a 55% stake in ASEC Ready Mix for a total consideration of EGP 1 billion, approximately $124 million. The deal is expected to close on or before November 20th, 2015.

Meanwhile, in South Africa, Kevin Tucker, who founded PriceCheck in 2006 and sold it to Naspers in 2010, is reacquiring the online price comparison platform in partnership with Silvertree Investment Holdings. The acquisition is being made through Silvertree’s subsidiary company ClicknCompare. PriceCheck is now Africa’s largest price comparison service, with over five million products listed from multiple retailers. Initially launched in South Africa, PriceCheck also expanded into Nigeria, the continent’s largest economy, in 2013. The platform now sees 25 million unique annual visitors across its two platforms, and has recorded y-o-y growth of 40% in South Africa and 600% in Nigeria, as more and more African shoppers look online for the best deals.

We found a number of pieces highlighting different firms’ investment and expansion strategies in Africa last week.  Goodlife Pharmacy, a Kenyan pharmaceutical retailer backed by Catalyst Principal Partners, is considering acquisitions as part of its strategy to expand the number or retail outlets it operates to 40 by the end of next year.  Helios Investment Partners is stepping into the gap created by Acorn’s recent split from Britam to partner with the Kenyan Property Developer and provide the capital muscle required to take advantage of the opportunities the sector offers. Xterra Capital Advisors, which is in the process of raising the $300 million Xterra Africa Property Fund, is apparently planning to invest a significant proportion of the fund in Kenyan real estate opportunities.

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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