Archive for the 'Corporate Social Responsibility' Category

Abraaj makes its first private-equity exit in Angola

Leading private-equity investor The Abraaj Group (www.abraaj.com) has exited its investment in Fibrex (www.fibrex.co.ao), its first exit in Angola. The announcement today (4 Aug) did not give details of the price or the buyer
Fibrex manufactures high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and other low-pressure plastic pipe products used in the construction industry. Abraaj invested through one of its funds in 2007 and has given operational support and since then, production volume has grown by 70%. Abraaj has supported upgrading the energy-supply infrastructure, improved governance, accounting and reporting standards, and increased environmental efficiency at Fibrex.
When Fibrex started in 1966, it was making woven bags to transport agricultural materials and fertilizers. It evolved into products such as PVC and HDPE pipes for the construction industry and it became the first company in Angola devoted to manufacturing plastic pipes and fittings. It has grown since into the domestic market leader.
In 2010 Fibrex secured ISO 9001 certification for quality management. The production facilities were further upgraded to recycle by-products of production, including plastic sawdust and fragments, and to reduce noise.

Credit: http://luanda.all.biz

Credit: http://luanda.all.biz


Abraaj’s also worked with Fibrex and Angola’s labour and trade unions to offer counselling, testing and adequate medical care to employees for HIV treatment.
The announcement quotes Davinder Sikand, Partner and Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at The Abraaj Group: “At Abraaj we have an unrivaled history of pioneering the private equity industry in Africa, where our strong on-the-ground teams penetrate relatively untapped markets and gain access to opportunities that often pass under the radar of investors that are not as well entrenched in these markets.
“We initiated our investment in Fibrex based on Angola’s strong macroeconomic conditions. The country, focused on rehabilitating its national infrastructure, showed rapid GDP growth and demonstrated significant demand for quality construction-related material and products which has helped Fibrex attain a market leading position in the country.”
Sandeep Khanna, Managing Director at The Abraaj Group: “Fibrex was not only well positioned to capitalize on the wide-scale infrastructure development of Angola, but also presented impressive growth rates sustained by its ability to retain its market-leading position despite increasing competition from new foreign entrants.
“Fibrex remains in a strong position today to capture the continued growth of the construction industry, as Angolans and the African continent more broadly seek to address their infrastructure needs. This successful experience in Angola has strengthened our confidence in the country’s investment opportunities, increased our appetite for Angolan businesses, and boosted our search for local partner companies.”
The Abraaj Group currently manages USD $7.5 billion across more than 20 sector and country-specific funds, encompassing private equity and real estate investments. Funds managed by the Group currently have holdings in over 140 partner companies across 10 sectors including consumer, energy, financials, healthcare and utilities. It operates in the growth markets of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia, Turkey and Central Asia and employs over 300 people across over 25 offices in 6 regions, including hubs in Istanbul, Mexico City, Dubai, Mumbai, Nairobi and Singapore.
It has been investing in Africa for the past 29 years, deploying $2.6bn across 80 investments.

Africa’s securities exchanges and their part in Africa’s future

“How can African exchanges become an integral part of the continent’s economic transformation?” This is the challenge from Sunil Benimadhu, President of the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA www.african-exchanges.org), at the flagship conference in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, earlier this month. It is a good agenda for action by Africa’s securities exchanges in 2014.
Benimadhu asks how the stock exchanges can “become powerful enablers and powerful drivers of change”; how they can “empower the middle-class, democratize the economy and help overcome poverty”; and how capital markets can “effectively provide the much-needed capital for corporate funding, but also the funding of governments’ social programmes in Africa?”
He identified 4 “S”s for securities exchanges:

S is for synergy
“There is a fundamental need for African stock exchanges to establish strong synergies with the other clusters within the financial services sector, like the banking sector, the insurance sector, the asset-management industry, the pension-fund industry, and work towards the emergence of an integrated approach to the development of the financial services sector in Africa. African exchanges have, for too long, been considered as mere appendages to the mainstream financial services clusters, when in effect they should have occupied a central position within the financial services spectrum, as clearly evidenced by successful financial centres in the world.”

S is support
Governments and policy-makers in Africa need “to understand the fundamental transformational role of capital markets to the socioeconomic fabric of African economies. Governments need to be fully supportive of the development of vibrant capital markets and they need to adopt policies that are conducive to the development of efficient and competitive markets.” Benimadhu cites Singapore, whose success began with a “direct interventionist approach of the Singaporean Government which made a clear statement about its vision to transform Singapore into an international financial centre and adopted policies that were fully supportive of the stated vision.” He points out how Singapore’s capital markets have contributed immensely to the transformation of the country’s economy into a world star. He added that Africa’s most successful companies should support the African stock exchanges by listing and contributing to market growth.

S is scope
African securities exchanges should “move up the value-chain and extend the scope of products and services they offer”. He acknowledges the short-term challenge is still the flotation and listing of new, valuable and liquid companies, but adds: “the short-to-medium term target implies a fundamental review of the exchange business model and the diversification of revenue streams via a strategic shift from the current equity-centric focus. New products including bonds, exchange-traded funds, structured products and eventually derivatives need to be introduced.”

S – substance
“Substance is about the ability of African Stock Exchanges to demonstrate that they have created value for the different stakeholders they service, namely issuers, investors and society as a whole.” Benimadhu says exchanges need to show how they have enabled existing issuers to raise capital to fund their growth and to create value for their shareholders and this will help bring new issuers to the market. “The substantive contributions of African Exchanges on both these counts are quite compelling and I think that these strengths need to be aggressively marketed by African exchanges to attract new issuers and broaden our product offerings.”
It is also important for African stock exchanges to improve their image and marketing to investors: “African exchanges need to demonstrate that they operate in a cost-effective and transparent manner, that information on listed scrips are readily and timeously available and that exchanges offer products that can potentially generate attractive returns to investors.
“With regards to society, exchanges should demonstrate that they can contribute to the democratization of the economy, create wealth for the citizens of a nation, contribute to the job-creation process, improve corporate governance and finally contribute to the overall well-being of a society from both a quantitative as well as a qualitative perspective.”

Panels at the conference included government support to the development of vibrant capital markets in Africa; how exchanges can generate substance and value for issuers, helping issuers tell their story right and endorsing effective communication strategies; and listening to issuers and investors on how African exchanges have added value to each.

Gold miner’s zero harm policy wins CSR award

Gold miner IAMGOLD Corporation (www.iamgold.com) was awarded for Corporate Social Responsibility at a dinner after a corporate social responsibility conference (www.ccsrconference.com) on 16 November in Canada. The conference is hosted by Algonquin College in Ottawa, with support from other Ontario academic institutions: Carleton University, La Cite Collegiale, the University of Ottawa and the University of Waterloo as well as Red River College in Manitoba.
According to a company press release: “The Conference singled out IAMGOLD as the winner of this award for its Zero Harm vision of maintaining the highest standards in human health, minimizing impact on the environment, and working co-operatively with host communities. IAMGOLD was recognized for having established over 28 community and NGO partnerships companywide, in Suriname, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Canada and French Guiana.
Algonquin College (www.algonquincollege.com) describes the conference in a press release as Canada’s largest Corporate and Community Social Responsibility Conference (CCSR). Its theme was “Achieving Social Innovation through Corporate and Community Collaboration.”
According to IAMGOLD “The award presentation highlighted the Company’s continuing commitment to social stewardship that has yielded sustainable projects centred on infrastructure, capacity building, education, health and livelihood improvement. Examples include: water supply projects, market garden development, new and improved schools and medical facilities, support for youth programs, capacity building, and improving agriculture techniques.”
IAMGOLD is listed on the Toronto, New York and Botswana Stock Exchanges. It describes itself as “a leading mid-tier gold mining company producing approximately one million ounces annually from 8 gold mines on 3 continents. IAMGOLD is uniquely positioned with a strong financial position and extensive management and operational expertise.
“To grow from this strong base, IAMGOLD has a pipeline of development and exploration projects and continues to assess accretive acquisition opportunities. IAMGOLD’s growth plans are strategically focused in West Africa, select countries in South America and in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, where it also operates a niobium mine.
IAMGOLD President and CEO, Steve Letwin said: “IAMGOLD’s rapid rise to become a mid-tier gold producer has been coupled with an aggressive strategy in achieving exceptional health, safety and sustainability performance. With management’s full commitment to the vision of Zero Harm, success is not solely measured by financial success; management believes that production, financial strength, growth, shareholder return, reputation and health, safety and corporate social responsibility carry equal importance.”