January 13th, 2015 by Tom Minney
Leading African private investment firm Helios Investment Partners says it is about to close its 3rd Africa-focused private equity fund at the $1.1 billion limit. The firm said yesterday (12 Jan) it had already passed its $1bn target. Helios Investors III L.P. fund will “acquire and build market-leading, diversified platform companies, operating in the core economic sectors of the key African countries, with an emphasis on portfolio operations as a creator of value”, according to a press release.
The company says Africa’s attraction to investors stems from growth driven by factors specific to the continent, including economic liberalization, technology driving increasing productivity, demographic dynamics and urbanization. The Financial Times describes it as “the first $1bn-plus Africa-focused private equity fund.”
Tope Lawani, co-founder and Managing Partner of Helios Investment Partners, commented in the press release: “Much has been made of the rise of the African consumer, and that does, from time to time, give rise to potential investment opportunities. However, as discretionary incomes remain low and the cost of basic goods and services is high, Helios believes that addressing the supply side of the economy is generally more attractive.
“Helios’ strategy focuses on investing in businesses that lead the provision of core economic infrastructure: de-bottlenecking the economy; increasing efficiencies; and reducing living costs for households and operating costs for businesses.”
Economic woes bring buying opportunities
According to the Financial Times, many countries’ economic prospects are troubled by falling commodity prices. Increased interest rates in US cause capital flows out of developing markets. In an interview Mr Lawani told the paper that in the near term many African countries were going to suffer an “adverse impact” on their currencies as capital flew back to the US: “We are witnessing sharply lower commodities prices and it is reasonable to expect African currencies to lose value against the dollar,” he said.
He claimed that the downturn would turn into an opportunity for investors holding large amounts of US dollars, such as Helios. “It is an excellent time to invest: asset values are going to come down.”
From Helios Investment Partners website
Investor appetite matures
The company says that over 60% of the new capital committed comes from their existing investors, and other leading global institutional investors have joined them. The investor base for Helios III includes sovereign wealth funds (SWF), corporate and public pension funds, endowments and foundations, funds of funds, family offices and development finance institutions across the US, Europe, Asia and Africa.
Helios investment team is supported by Helios’ dedicated Portfolio Operations Group, based in Lagos and Nairobi, who work in active partnership with portfolio company management to create value within the firm’s portfolio by driving operational improvements. Helios has already made one investment through Helios III, acquiring an interest in ARM Pensions, Nigeria’s largest independent pension fund manager with over $2.2bn of pension assets under management. It has built a robust pipeline of proprietary opportunities.
Dabney Tonelli, Investor Relations Partner of Helios Investment Partners, commented: “Achieving, and exceeding, our fundraising target for Helios III underscores the global demand for experienced, institutional, Africa-focused private equity specialists and the strength of the relationships we have built with the world’s leading private equity investors.”
Helios was established in 2004 by Nigerian-born Tope Lawani and Babatunde Soyoye. It raised the previous record for Africa’s biggest private equity fund at $908m in 2011. Through various investment types, such as business formations, business formations, growth equity investments, structured investments in listed entities and large scale leveraged acquisitions across Africa, it has aggregated more than $2.7bn in cpapital commitments, according to its website.
The Financial Times adds: “Africa still attracts a tiny proportion of the world’s private equity money, even compared with other emerging regions, notably Asia and Latin America. But interest has increased recently, buoyed by strong economic growth. After stagnating for two decades, African gross domestic product per capita has surged almost 40% since 2002, fuelled by high commodity prices, the rise of a small consumer class, and cheap Chinese loans.”
It says that buyout groups raised $3.3bn for Africa funds in 2013, down from a peak of $4.7bn in 2007.
The FT points to US buyout private equity firms Carlyle’s $698m fund and regional deals by KKR (which invested $200m in a Afriflora, an Ethiopian exporter of roses, in June 2014 from its $6bn European fund according to this Wall Street Journal story and a KKR press release) and Blackstone. In June 2014 Edmond de Rothschild amassed $530m for its first private equity fund focusing on deals in Africa, managed by Amethis, majority-owned by the Swiss private banking group and founded by Luc Rigouzzo and Laurent Demey, two former top executives at French development financial institution Proparco. There has also been increased multinational deal-making, including French insurer Axa entering Nigeria, an alliance between SAB Miller and Coca Cola, and a merger in South Africa’s retail sector.
October 27th, 2011 by Tom Minney
Private equity managers (“General Partners” or GPs) have been able to exit some of their investments, spurred by good valuations, global private equity funds entering Africa and more interest from international companies. According to a story on excellent private equity website, www.privateequityafrica.com, data from research house Preqin (www.preqin.com) says that reported exits this year are worth $1.2 billion “as company values finally recover to reasonable levels despite uncertainty in the broader global economy.”
This compares with $79 million sold in the whole of 2010, according to Preqin data.
Here are some of the exits listed, plus a couple of others we added, which may not be included in Preqin’s data for various reasons. For more details take a look at www.privateequityafrica.com and other sites:
• Sweden’s Electrolux bought Egypt-based white goods manufacturing company Olympic Group Financial Invetment SAE for $404m, including a 52% stake previously owned by Egypt’s Paradise Capital Holding for Financial Investments SAE. The deal started in October 2010, and the price changed a bit during the revolution. Electrolux followed with a mandatory offer to other shareholders. A 2010 statement by Paradise Capital said the new funds would be put into other businesses: “Expanding the existing Paradise Capital business activities will help the Sallam Family realize its declared mission statement “80K by 2020” (to provide 80,000 jobs by the year 2020 in Egypt).”
• Mark Shuttleworth’s HBD Venture Capital sold its stake in South Africa-based mobile payment company Fundamo to Visa in a $110m trade deal.
• South Africa’s Ethos Private Equity Fund V sold a 70% stake in South Africa-based sporting goods company Holdsport (formerly Moresport), raising approximately $137m (R930m) through a pre-placement after a book-build by UBS. Holdsport listed on the Johannesburg securities exchange JSE Ltd in July, its first retail listing since 2004. According to reports, Ethos paid R681 million to acquire the retailer, including its debt, in a 2006 buyout with management, who retain their interest.
• Oil company Kosmos Energy Ltd raised $594m (more than expected) when it listed on New York Stock Exchange in May in an IPO, it had been backed by private equity firms Blackstone Group and Warburg Pincus.
• Aureos’ $381m Africa Fund achieved its first exit in February when it sold its stake in Nigeria-based biscuit maker Deli Foods to Tiger Brands, after holding the company for only 3 years. Tiger Brands paid a total of R275m ($35m) for the company. Aureos said it gained “solid” returns. In a press release, Ravi Sharma, partner for Aureos West Africa added: “Aureos’s involvement with Deli Foods has been about taking the company to the next stage in its development. As well as growing the company to the extent that it has been able to attract an international buyer, we are also proud that the improvements that we have made in health, safety and environmental procedures will bring significant benefits to the strong workforce, as well as the wider community in this part of Lagos.”
• Blackstar Group SE (linked to Blackstar Investors plc in UK) announced that it had reaped a 72% internal rate of return (IRR) in sterling and 4x returns on its sale of a 54% stake (shareholding and shareholder loans) in Ferro Industrial Products, after less than 3 years of holding the asset (it was acquired in January 2009 for GBP4.8m ($7.7m), according to a press release). The investor sold its stake in the company to Investec and Ferro management for R220m (about $30m at the time).
Other deals reportedly in the making include plans by Ethos and Actis to sell stakes in South Africa’s Savcio Holdings, an equipment repair company. This year’s arrival into African private equity Carlyle Group was understood to be one of the players looking at the company, estimated at $500m in value, according to reports General Electric and Siemens AG are also keen.
Look at the www.privateequityafrica.com for more and to subscribe to the October issue of the Private Equity Africa quarterly printed journal.
March 28th, 2011 by Tom Minney
Global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group on 24 March announced that it has established a team to conduct buyout and growth capital investments in Sub-Saharan Africa. The initial target for the new fund is $500 million, according to Reuters (although the Financial Times earlier put the target at $750 mn and said there will also be an office in Zimbabwe). Carlyle has $97.7 billion under management including $16.6 bn in emerging markets. The news comes at a time when some major private equity funds are also being raised.
The Carlyle SSA team will make buyout and growth capital investments in private and public companies from offices in Johannesburg and Lagos, focusing on transactions where Carlyle has distinctive competitive advantage and can create tangible value for the companies invested into. It would aim to contribute specialized knowledge of industries, to add expertise and give access to a global network. Initial target industries include consumer goods, financial services, agriculture, infrastructure and energy.
The team is jointly led by Managing Directors Marlon Chigwende (former Managing Director & Head of Private Equity Africa for Standard Chartered Bank), and Danie Jordaan (former Executive Committee Member and Partner of Ethos Private Equity). The team also includes Managing Director Genevieve Sangudi (most recently a Partner and Managing Director of Emerging Capital Partners with some of the biggest private equity funds going into Africa). Mr. Jordaan begins his duties immediately while Mr. Chigwende and Ms. Sangudi will begin in early May.
Greg Summe, Carlyle Managing Director and Vice Chairman of Global Buyout, said in a press release: “Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, driven by favorable demographics, expanding domestic industries and an improving political environment. Carlyle’s SSA team comprises African nationals with deep market knowledge, broad networks across the continent and extensive experience in private equity transactions. The Africa team’s expertise should be a powerful combination with Carlyle’s deep industry experience and global platform.”
Co-head Danie Jordaan said, “We are excited to join Carlyle, with its demonstrated ability to build thriving private equity businesses across emerging markets. As SSA gains from political and economic reforms, demand for basic services and infrastructure is dramatically increasing. The entrance of a global player like Carlyle into SSA is a testament to the region’s progress and prospects and will attract more capital and talent to the region. We also believe Carlyle’s global network will facilitate the growth of its SSA investments in the major international markets.”
Carlyle has a formidable reputation for its ability to raise funds.
Carlyle’s Commitment to Emerging Markets
Carlyle is based in Washington DC. According to the company’s press release, since Carlyle first began investing in Asia in 1999, it has deployed significant capital and resources in markets including South America, China, India, South East Asia and Middle East and North Africa. It set up a Middle East North Africa team in November 2006 and finished raising $500 mn in funds for this in 2009.
Since 1999, Carlyle has invested $6.4 bn in equity and has $16.6 bn in assets under management in emerging markets. It employs 160 professionals in 12 offices in 9 emerging market countries.