Archive for the 'ESG' Category

Launch of Africa Progress Panel report 5 June

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For more information, see Africa Progress Panel. The ground-breaking Africa Progress Report Power, People, Planet will launch 5 June – energy poverty, the effects and future of climate change, and Africa’s vast sustainable energy.

Africa’s best real estate developer is private equity group Actis

Leading African private equity group Actis has won the title for “Best Developer in Africa” in the 8th annual global Euromoney Real Estate Survey run by finance magazine Euromoney. To collect data for the award, Euromoney was canvassing the opinions of senior real-estate bankers, developers, investment managers, corporate end-users and advisory firms in over 70 countries since March. It was the biggest Euromoney real estate poll with over 1,900 responses. Actis invests mainly in retail and office developments in high-growth markets such as Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia. It launched its first real estate fund in 2006 and concentrates on institutional quality investments. It is sub-Saharan Africa’s most experienced private equity real estate investor and developer, according to a press release.

Current Actis developments include Ghana’s first green-certified building One Airport Square in Accra; East Africa’s biggest retail centre Garden City in Nairobi, and Ikeja City Mall in Lagos which welcomed 45,000 people on its first day of trading in December 2011. Past investments include Accra Mall in Accra and The Junction in Nairobi.

According to the press release, David Morley, Head of Real Estate at Actis, said: “Sub-Saharan Africa has a population of 800 million people and is the fastest urbanising region in the world; an increasingly sophisticated consumer class seek places to live, eat, shop and relax in the face of chronic undersupply. There is tremendous opportunity for those who take up the challenge and we are very proud to see our work recognised in this way.” Euromoney Editor Clive Horwood said, “The winners of this year’s Euromoney survey are those that exhibited the ability to innovate and make best use of the inherent strengths of their organisation. In Africa, in particular, there are great opportunities for those companies best equipped to operate in challenging markets. Through the Euromoney real estate survey, the market has recognised Actis as the leader in this field.”

Nairobi’s Garden City
In July Actis confirmed its investment in Nairobi’s Garden City, a 32-acre mixed use development on the recently expanded 8-lane Thika Highway. This will be a 50,000 sqm retail mall, with commercial premises, 500 new homes and a 4-acre central park, offering family friendly leisure space for Kenyans and visitors to the city. The park will also house an outdoor events arena for the staging of concerts and shows. Groundbreaking is due in December 2012 and completion targeted for May 2014, according to a press release.

Actis is working with leading retailers, including a flagship store for South Africa’s Game, their first in Kenya. Letting is underway with specialist agents Knight Frank Kenya and Broll in South Africa. There are detailed discussions with other foreign retailers looking to enter the rapidly-expanding Kenyan market, such as South African fashion group, Foschini. There is a strong focus on environmental features and the aim is to achieve the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for a retail mall in East Africa. This brings down operating costs for tenants by reducing electricity and water consumption.

Accra Mall sold
In May Actis confirmed that it had sold its 85% shareholding in Ghana’s Accra Mall to South Africa’s commercial and retail property developer Atterbury and financial services group Sanlam. Actis managed the development process, invested the equity and raised the debt to finance the project, working in partnership with renowned Ghanaian entrepreneurs, the Owusu-Akyaw family. The mall opened its doors in July 2008 fully let, and attracts 135,000 shoppers each week, according to a press release.

Accra Mall is Ghana’s first A-grade shopping and leisure centre, home to international brands such as Shoprite and Game, as well as Ghanaian brands including Kiki Clothing and Nallem. The trade sale demonstrates an increasing interest in Ghana by foreign investors and also reflects the acute demand for high quality real estate assets in sub-Saharan Africa.

Actis 100% owned
Also in May, Actis said it had bought the UK Government’s remaining 40% shareholding in the company. In the deal announced on 1 May, the government will receive a cash payment of US$13m (£8m) and will participate in future profits as Actis’s investments are realised over the next decade. To date, Actis has invested £1.7bn on behalf of the UK government’s direct finance institution CDC and has returned £3.1bn to CDC and by extension the British taxpayer.

Paul Fletcher, Senior Partner at Actis, said: “When Actis opened for business in 2004 our purpose was to attract private capital to countries that were dependent on aid and to legitimise them as investment destinations. Over the last eight years our work in Africa, Asia and Latin America, investing in over 70 companies employing 113,000 people, has shown what is possible. Successive governments have shown real vision backing a private sector model like Actis. We are pleased that HMG has realised the value of their decision to support Actis from the start. We look forward to continuing our work, investing in high quality companies in high growth countries and delivering strong returns for our investors.”

Social Stock Exchange to launch in London

A London-based Social Stock Exchange (SSE) aims for launch in the second quarter of 2013. It plans to partner with a Recognised Investment Exchange to create an investment exchange authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for trading in securities of social enterprises and other social purpose businesses. The SSE team are building the trading platform, the pipeline of companies who wish to list, the market-maker and broker communities, and the community of impact investors and have offices in central London, UK.

The goal is to build a securities exchange that lists social businesses from around the world and attracts capital from individuals, private clients, family offices, foundations and institutional investors who are seeking both a financial and demonstrable social return. The target is to become the premier trading venue for social businesses wishing to raise risk capital and for social impact investors who wish to find global businesses that reflect their values.

The team brings together stock-exchange professionals, investment bankers and asset managers. Its offices are based in London Bridge, London UK. The exchange will be open to a wide range of retail investors, including tax-efficient schemes and personal pensions.

Target sectors for listings are smaller high-growth health, educational and environmental companies and also enterprises seeking to finance social and affordable housing, social transport, green and ethical consumerism, clean-tech, green-tech, waste, water, recycling, regeneration, education, public health, sustainable forestry and organic agriculture. It will also help enterprises that work with large numbers of poor (“base of the pyramid”) to help them build economic activity. It is firming up commitments from companies to list and from investment banks to work in partnership and as advisors.

Co-founder and CEO Pradeep Jethi told African Capital Markets News: “Many of the larger City brokers and law firms are working with us, as are social-impact auditors from the ‘big four’ down to smaller niche organisations.”

The SSE aims to become a deal-aggregation platform with global visibility aimed at impact investors across private wealth managers, family offices, foundations and institutions. Ordinary investors will also be able to pick and invest in SSE-listed social ventures, using traditional stock-broking services. Jethi explained: “The main advantage is that the social enterprise’s shareholder base becomes dominated by impact investors who share the mission of the company as well as its growth and financial prospects. By having an aggregated trading venue of social enterprises with common and high standards of regulation, governance and social reporting, this lowers the cost of search and cost of due diligence for investors and therefore provides the advantage of ultimately lowering the cost of capital for a social enterprise.”

The Social Stock Exchange was initially funded by the Rockefeller Foundation as part of their programme to develop global impact investing infrastructure, which also includes the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), BLabs/BCorporations, the IRIS impact metrics taxonomy, and GIIRS (the Global Impact Assessment Ratings System). Partners such as international banks and foundations, including J.P.Morgan, Prudential, Deutsche Bank, Triodos Bank, UBS, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Doen Foundation, Ford Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, are committed to promote impact investing and have contributed research or direct interventions to stimulate the impact investing marketplace.

The SSE company was registered in 2007 and the earliest work commenced with nef (New Economics Foundation), Community Action Network and Office of the Third Sector (now Office of Civil Society).

It raised £250,000/$500,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation; completed extensive market scoping and testing work in 2008, and did research which showed that social enterprises and social investors were positive to the SSE concept. It continued to build support and networks until 2012 when it raised £2m in a second round of funding from a syndicate of strategic investors to provide the working capital to build, market and launch the exchange and to cover up to 6 years of operating costs.

Impact Exchange (iX) gets closer to launch on Stock Exchange of Mauritius

A partnership between the innovative Stock Exchange of Mauritius and social enterprise Nexii is making great progress towards setting up the Impact Exchange (iX) board on a globally recognized stock exchange. This will enable businesses that have social impact to list debt and equity securities, as allow impact investment funds to list. According to a report on Forbes.com, so far 6 companies have gone through the iX board listing process and the board expects to start trading in the third quarter of 2013.
SEM is a member of the World Federation of Exchanges and one of platforms for trading debt, equity and derivatives, and it can also trade and settle in many currencies, including USD, GBP, Euro, Mauritian Rupee. SEM is regulated by the world-class Financial Services Commission of Mauritius and has automated trading and settlement services. It is a recognised stock exchange by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in the UK, and an approved stock exchange by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority. SEM’s data is live on all major international data vendors – including Bloomberg, Thompson Reuters, Financial Times, Factset and I-Net Bridge – provided significant global access for listed companies and investors alike.
Nexii was created by Tamzin Ractliffe, a South African pioneer in impact investing marketplaces. The new marketplace is aimed at the retail market, so that any investor will be able to buy and sell shares not just qualified specialist investors. Ractliffe initially set up a platform for unlisted securities 12 years ago. In 2009, she worked with the Rockefeller Foundation to bring together a group of social entrepreneurs/impact investors interested in creating social stock exchanges and marketplaces. She spent 18 months researching the market and, in May, 2011, she received formal regulatory approval from the FSC to launch the iX.
For all of the 6 companies that will launch the iX, this will be their first listing. Forbes.com correspondent Anne Field quotes Ractliffe: “Going to the market for money is not something they’re used to. The process of encouraging companies and getting them to understand the value of being part of a marketplace – that’s been quite a lot of work.” To be eligible for listing, companies need a clear social or environmental mission and need to have in place a reporting system for non-financial impact. The also need to work with intermediaries, known as Authorized Impact Representatives (AIRs), who are accredited to NeXii. Nominated Impact Advisors help the social enterprise during the listing process. Once the company is listed, Impact Verification Agents work with the business to make sure it meets ongoing reporting requirements and audits impact reports. Ractliffe says she’s accredited a handful of impact advisory firms so far.
The process can be costly and Ractliffe says she is discussing creating a technical assistance advisory fund that would help finance the cost of the listing process with “a number of development financing institutions”. This fund would also have a financial and impact return.
The new stock exchange was launched in May 2011 at the first Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) Europe Conference at the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam – the site of the creation of the capital markets where the first stock was traded in 1602.
According to the NeXii website: “We believe that this board is a powerful tool for facilitating the flow of investment capital to social businesses. The iX represents the next generation of stock exchanges and how these established financial institutions can help transform the capital raising opportunities available to social businesses. The iX provides mission protection for listed social businesses. This means that your reputation as a social business is maintained even though you are issuing public securities. The iX is fully committed to all stakeholders in the impact capital market and it is an effective platform to coordinate information, build intermediary activity and enable analyst coverage of impact investments. The iX is how we connect social businesses to public capital and mainstream investors to change.”

Kenya licences first ethical Islamic finance fund

Kenya has licensed its first ethical fund, an Islamic fund issued by FCB Capital, a sharia-compliant investment bank. It is a fully-owned subsidiary of First Community Bank and the first to offer a Collective Investment Scheme geared towards ethical investing under Islamic capital markets product range.
“Kenya has ambitions of becoming the Islamic finance hub of East Africa as part of our wider aspiration to become an international financial centre,” said Stella Kilonzo, Chief Executive Officer of the Capital Markets Authority, at the licencing of First Ethical Opportunities Fund on 7 March, according to press reports in Xinhua and Coastweek. She said the CMA will continue to encourage stakeholders in Islamic finance to explore opportunities available for structuring, issuance and investment shariah-compliant products such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and bonds.
She also called on Islamic finance institutions to work with CMA and the joint financial sector regulators in Kenya towards the establishment of a full-fledged single Shariah Advisory Council/ Board to enhance the consistent application of Shariah rulings. She said the council could provide guidance on product authenticity within the entire Islamic finance industry in Kenya.
Stakeholders in Islamic finance should also work together to develop the skills of professionals with expertise in Islamic financial advisory services and investment. CMA is also focusing on broad market education, tax harmonisation and formulation of policy and legal frameworks to help accelerate the growth of these new products. First Community Bank has participated in shariah-compliant components of infrastructure bonds issued by the Government of Kenya from 2009.

IFC invests in Côte d’Ivoire’s mining through Sama Resources

The International Finance Corporation (www.ifc.org), a member of the World Bank Group, on 20 Dec agreed to invest some CAD1,250,000 (Canadian dollars, equivalent to US$1.2million) in nickel and copper exploration. Sama Resources Inc (www.samaresources.com) will use the funds raised to advance the Samapleu project in eastern Côte d’Ivoire, near the border with Guinea, which it hopes will provide future jobs and government revenues to Côte d’Ivoire. The transaction is set to close in December.
The country has significant mineral resources but development of the mining sector has been hampered by political and military crisis during the past decade. IFC’s support to the Samapleu project will help promote good environmental and social standards in the country’s mining sector and send a positive signal for future foreign direct investment in the country.
IFC will work with Sama to ensure that exploration and any subsequent mine development is carried out in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner.
Dr. Marc-Antoine Audet, President and CEO of Sama, said in a press release (search “samapleu” on IFC website): “Sama is pleased to welcome IFC as a shareholder and partner on the Samapleu project. We look forward to drawing from IFC’s expertise to help ensure that the progress at Samapleu follows global best practices for the mineral exploration industry, the environment, and for working with local communities.”
Tom Butler, IFC Global Head for Mining, added: “We are excited to be making IFC’s first mining investment in Côte d’Ivoire through Sama, a company we believe has the leadership and resources to make the Samapleu project a success. This investment aligns with our strategy to support early-stage exploration companies with financing and advice.”
IFC offers mining clients in developing countries a broad range of financial and advisory services throughout the mining life cycle. Its early-equity investment programme is to help exploration-stage companies, such as Sama, with financing and advice on best practice in environmental and social management.
IFC is the largest global development institution focused only on the private sector. In fiscal 2011, investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion.
IFC is acquiring 3,968,254 units, each of 1 common share and 1 warrant, out of 5,105,539 units offered by Sama to IFC and 2 other investors in a private placement. Each warrant entitles the holder to purchase 1 common share of Sama at an exercise price of CAD0.4725 per common share for a period of 4 years, subject to Sama’s right to accelerate the expiration of the warrant.
The issue price per unit is CAD0.315 Canadian dollars. It is expected that after completing the subscriptions to IFC and the other 2, there will be 66,013,174 Sama common shares outstanding and IFC will directly hold approximately 6.01% of the outstanding share capital and approximately 11.34% of the outstanding share capital if it exercises all its warrants

About Sama Resources

Sama is a growth-oriented resource company focused on exploring and developing nickel-copper-sulphide and laterite resources in West Africa. Its goal is to become the first poly-metallic producer in the region along side its joint venture partner SODEMI (Société pour le Développement Minier de Côte d’Ivoire – www.sodemi.ci). Its key assets are Samapleu project in Côte d’Ivoire and Lola project in Guinea, both in exploration phase. Future production from Samapleu will be managed by a joint venture controlled 66⅔% by Sama Nickel Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sama, and 33⅓% by SODEMI. The licence encompasses 449 square kilometres and hosts nickel-copper and nickel-cobalt rich laterite deposits, and the newly discovered massive chromites occurrences.
The Lola project is 100% owned by Sama and encompasses 1,212 square kilometres adjacent to the Samapleu project. The Lola project has strong potential for nickel and copper mineralization and nickel-cobalt rich laterite.

Getting Africa to use more carbon financing – COP 17 workshop

Africa is using much less than its share of global financing available for carbon reduction projects, but the process to apply is complicated and a special facility has been set up to help. The African Carbon Asset Development facility has funded successful projects to reduce carbon emissions in Africa. A workshop was held last weekend for sharing practical lessons, attended by about 30 developers, investors, and local experts and bringing together African carbon asset development partners and financiers and beneficiaries including entrepreneurs on how to make carbon finance work for Africa.
The workshop highlighted successful carbon investment projects in Africa supported by the African Carbon Asset Development facility (www.acadfacility.org), formed by the United Nations Environment Programme (www.unep.org) in cooperation with Standard Bank Group (www.standardbank.co.za) and funded by the German Federal Environment Ministry (www.bmu.du/english). The ACAD partnership addresses key barriers that have stopped more people in Africa benefitting from carbon financing on projects as it provides technical assistance, seed capital, and specialized advisory services to both green entrepreneurs and to banks across Africa.
Although carbon financing is growing in importance worldwide, Africa’s share remains very low. According to ACAD facility’s website, in 2009 around $84 billion was invested in 684 emission reduction projects in emerging markets, but African nations got only 2% of the global total. The aim of ACAD is to help increase Africa’s carbon markets.
The workshop was held (somewhere) in Durban as part of a Conference of Parties (COP 17/CMP7) to discuss the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (at sometime) over the weekend 3-4 December. It was organized by Standard Bank and UNEP.
Two examples of successful projects were cited. Johannesburg-based AAP Carbon (www.aapcarbon.com) has developed a technology that can generate heat and electric power from furnace waste gases emitted during ferrochrome smelting. The development was piloted with a financing plan which included carbon credit revenue.
A plant near Rustenberg, South Africa is already operational for London-listed International Ferro Metals (www.ifml.com) and is reducing greenhouse gas emissions by over 200,000 tons a year. Alex Berger, Director of AAP Carbon, explained how the project benefited from UNEP support so that it could tackle challenges in registering for a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which is a global framework allowing industrialized countries to fund carbon emissions in places where this can be done more cheaply. The AAP Carbon project is now in the final stages of registration and has apparently been certified with the premium Gold Standard. Several investors are interested in using the climate-friendly technology for other plants, after IFM and AAP Carbon showed that it works.
Kevin Fruin, a South African small business owner, said there is scope to make bricks in a way that is more efficient with energy. He said that construction accounts for almost 30% of South Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions and 200 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa make clay bricks. He is one of the small businesses piloting a cleaner production technology called “Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln”. This can save manufacturers at least 50% of coal use and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and air pollutants such as soot and black carbon. ACAD is supporting the development of a national programme using the CDM to scale up these demonstration projects so that other businesses can use the technology. It is giving financial advisory, legal due diligence, and a customized carbon-auditing tool for participating SMEs.
The session also provided some 30 participants an opportunity to learn more about how to benefit from grants from ACAD and training.

Securities Africa – thanks for supporting charity trading day

Securities Africa (www.securitiesafrica.com) held its annual Charity Trading Day on 9 November. The broker-dealer teamed up with Child Welfare SA and 100% of all revenue and commissions earned on the day were donated to the charity. Mike Barnes, Managing Director and Head of Sales & Trading, said: “Despite the incredibly tough current trading environment, the day was a success as many clients supported this wonderful cause. Securities Africa and Child Welfare SA would like to thank all those who supported the initiative.” Child Welfare SA (www.childwelfaresa.org.za) is an umbrella body that represents more than 263 member organizations and outreach projects in communities throughout South Africa. Together with its member organizations, forms the largest non-profit, non-governmental organization in the country in the fields of child protection and child care and family development.