Emerging Capital Partners targets North Africa construction

Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) announced on 27 July it has bought controlling stakes in Shoresal and Almes – both North African construction companies – for a total USD $26.2 million. ECP (www.ecpinvestments.com) is an international private equity firm focused on investing across the African continent with a nine-year track record and the first to raise more than $1.6 billion to invest in companies across Africa.

It is expanding its North African investments.

Thomas Gibian, chief executive officer of ECP, says:  “ECP has invested in various African engineering and construction companies since 2006, and we have long been evaluating opportunities in the North African market…Unlike many western markets, North African real estate and construction is generally driven by a lack of supply to meet the increasing demand from both foreign and domestic companies.”

In Algeria, ECP acquired a $13.8 million stake in Shoresal, a real estate development company, which will use ECP’s investment, in part, to finance the development of a 14-storey Class A office tower in the Bab Ezzouar business district of Algiers. According to the company’s research, demand for office space in Algeria’s major cities is approximately eight times greater than the current supply, driven by a tripling in the number of multinational companies since 2000.

The investment was made through ECP’s MENA Growth Fund LLC, which was established in September 2007 to capitalize on investment opportunities throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

In Morocco, ECP invested $12.4 million in Almes, the holding company of Entreprise Marocaine de Travaux (EMT) and Somadiaz. EMT specializes in public works infrastructure projects such as dams, levees and airports. Somadiaz is an equipment leasing company that provides specialized equipment to commercial and industrial clients. The companies will expand in Morocco and into neighbouring countries – such as Libya and Mauritania – where demand for public works and other construction services are also high. ECP’s investment is in partnership with Alliances Développement Immobilier, a leading integrated real estate and tourism group in Morocco.

The investment in Almes was made through the Moroccan Infrastructure Fund, a joint venture between ECP and Attijariwafa bank, which was established in December 2006 to capitalize on the ongoing reforms that are spurring economic growth in Morocco. It targets numerous sectors including telecoms, transportation, energy, power and water.

“ECP views the construction markets across North Africa as uniquely poised for growth,” said Vincent Le Guennou, executive vice president of ECP. “We believe the strong supply and demand imbalance in the sector is a compelling reason to invest.”

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