Leading Africa private equity firm Kingdom Zephyr Africa Management Company (www.kingdomzephyr.com) today (4 May) announced the opening of its new office in Lagos, Nigeria. It has $615 million under management via its Pan-African Investment Partners (“PAIP”) funds and operates out of offices in Accra, Johannesburg, Lagos, London and New York.
The firm sees expansion into Nigeria as strategic. it is Africa’s most populous country and the second largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa. The IMF forecasts Nigeria will be amongst the world’s top 10 fastest growing economies between 2011-2015, with annual growth rate around 7%.
The new Lagos office boosts Kingdom Zephyr’s ability to source deals in West and Central Africa. The Nigerian economy is set to benefit from the transformation of the banking and financial services, oil and gas and power sectors, all target industries for the firm, which has already invested in United Bank for Africa plc and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated through its PAIP I Fund.
Kingdom Zephyr Partner Seyi Owodunni will head the Lagos office. Prior to joining Kingdom Zephyr, Seyi was the Chief Financial Officer of Starcomms Plc, a Nigerian telecommunications operator and triple-play provider. He said in a press release: “Lagos is a vital location for Kingdom Zephyr’s investment activities within West Africa as we actively look to partner with established, local businesses that have the capabilities to grow and expand across the African continent.”
“Nigeria’s economic growth has recovered from the temporary dip in 2009 on the back of higher oil prices as well as industry and government reforms.. Growth will be further aided by key demographic trends such as an expanding workforce, increasing urbanization and the rapid growth of Nigeria’s middle class; all developments that are consistent with our middle class consumer-focused investment strategy.”
Kofi Bucknor, Kingdom Zephyr’s Managing Partner, added: “Although Nigeria is still dependent on its oil sector, the government is beginning to take the necessary steps towards economic diversification and market liberalisation while, at the same time, corporate governance is steadily improving. This is making Nigeria an increasingly attractive proposition for private equity investors.”
Kingdom Zephyr is a joint venture between Zephyr Management, L.P. and Kingdom Holding Company. Headquartered in New York, Zephyr is a global leader in emerging markets private equity, having invested in Africa since the mid-1990s. Kingdom is the investment holding vehicle controlled by HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud of Saudi Arabia, a leading philanthropist and investor in Africa since 1996. Current PAIP Funds investments include Letshego Holdings Limited, a Botswana-based consumer lender, and Consolidated Infrastructure Group Limited, a South Africa-based power infrastructure company.