Helios closed giant $900 mn African private equity fund

Pan-African private equity firm Helios Investment Partners (www.heliosinvestment.com) announced that it had raised $900 million for its second Africa-focused private equity fund. The final close for Helios Investors II L.P. was at the target set, and a 13 June company press release says that the fund was over-subscribed with more than $1 billion of demand. It is the largest Africa fund raised.
The new fund will follow the investment strategies of Helios’ first fund, looking at new businesses, growth equity investments, structured investments in listed entities and large leveraged acquisitions. It is focusing on high-growth sectors including sectors which have been deregulated, are core to the economy and where Helios has expertise, including telecommunications and media, financial services, power and utilities, distribution and logistics and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). The target investments are $25 million to $250 mn of equity per transaction ion various forms. It aims to make investments over 4 years and to hold assets for 3-5 years.
Helios II fund has already made 3 investments:

  • It acquired Interswitch, Nigeria’s leading electronic payments processing company for $110 mn;
  • It established Helios Towers Africa which builds and operates telecommunications tower businesses across Africa, and acquired portfolios of telecommunications towers in Ghana, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC);
  • It acquired Continental Outdoor Media, Africa’s largest outdoor advertising company.

Helios has also recently announced the acquisition of Shell’s downstream fuels business across Africa.
According to the press release: “Continued political and market liberalisation and strong economic growth have prompted global investors to evaluate investment opportunities in Africa more closely. The Fund’s potential to make attractive risk-adjusted returns with comparatively low correlation to developed markets enabled it to attract a diverse investor base, which includes support from institutional investors in the predecessor Helios fund, as well as first-time commitments to Africa from a broad range of endowments and foundations, funds of funds, corporate pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and development finance institutions across the USA, Europe, Asia and Africa.”
Helios’ team of investment professionals have good understanding of African markets and global private equity experience. Helios has also developed a Portfolio Operations Group, who work with the managers of the companies which the fund invests into, in order to create value within the firm’s portfolio by driving operational improvements.
Helios Investment Partners operates funds and related co-investment entities, aggregating more than $1.7 bn in capital commitments, and is one of the largest investment firms focusing on Africa. It was established in 2004 by partners Tope Lawani and Babatunde Soyoye who still lead it and is among the few independent pan-African private equity investment firms founded and managed by Africans.
Helios’ portfolio companies operate in more than 25 countries and in various industrial sectors. The firm has experience across a broad range of industries and investment types – leveraged buyouts, recapitalisations, joint ventures, seed-stage venture capital, restructurings, and strategic public equity investments.
Limited partners in Helios’ funds include several leading global funds of funds, endowments and foundations, sovereign wealth funds, family offices, high net-worth individuals and development finance institutions. According to website www.privateequityafrica.com, 72% of its commitments are from private and institutional investors and the rest from development finance institutions.

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