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Tunis Stock Exchange IPO is largest listing

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The listing of Société d’Articles Hygiéniques (SAH), on the Tunis Stock Exchange yesterday (9 Jan) after a private placement and an oversubscribed initial public offer (IPO) is the largest listing on the Tunis bourse (Bourse de Tunis), with the company valued at TND 270.5 million ($163.5m). It is a successful exit for leading African private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners which scored a cash multiple of 2.4x on exiting the investment.

The private placement for 90% of the shares attracted 85 local and international investors, signalling a return by international investors to the Tunisian capital market. The public offer in the Tunisian IPO was over-subscribed 22.1 times, according to a press release. Adel Grar, Chairman of the Tunisian Brokerage House Association, said: “The IPO of SAH is a milestone.. it demonstrates the ability for a local or foreign investor to exit through the Tunis Stock Exchange.”

SAH (www.lilasbebe.com.tn) is Tunisia’s leading manufacturer of feminine and baby hygiene products and operates under the “Lilas” brand. ECP has invested since 2008 and, according to the announcement, “has supported SAH as it increased its customer base to 17 countries across North and sub-Saharan Africa, created subsidiaries in Algeria and Libya, and developed a paper mill factory in Tunisia.” Products include baby diapers, feminine-care pads, disposable diapers, bathroom and facial tissues, kitchen towels, hand towels and tissue wipes.

“Over the last 2 years, SAH has grown at 17% per year, despite a difficult economic climate – testament to its focus on product innovation, diversification and locally produced, high quality offerings. SAH’s sales are expected to exceed TND 200m ($120m) in 2013 and the company currently employs over 2,000 people.” According to a 2011 profile in The Africa Report, also on the ECP website , SAH was founded in 1995 by wife and husband team Jalila Mezni and Mounir el Jaiez.

The sale was of 14,176,590 shares, representing 48.99% of the capital at listing and the fixed offer price of TND 9.35 per share.

Nayel Georges Vidal, Director in the Tunis office at ECP, said in the press release: “Under the guidance of Ms Jalila Mezni, the company has worked hard to more than double its performance over the last 5 years. With ECP’s support, SAH has expanded its production capacity, brought new products to market, expanded beyond Tunisia, and built a strong customer brand – all made possible by its employees’ dedication to improving its systems, governance and product range. We firmly believe that SAH will continue to create further value for its shareholders – which include many foreign investors showing renewed interest in the Tunisian stock market.”

Private equity firm ECP was founded in 2000 and has raised more than US$2bn for growth capital investing in Africa. It was one of the first firms dedicated to Africa and has investments in more than 50 African companies through 7 funds. It boasts “more people on the ground than any other firm” with more than 70% of its investment professionals, who hail from 12 African countries, in 7 local offices.

Its private equity investments include financial services, telecommunications, retail and consumer, natural resources, agriculture and infrastructure in over 40 African countries. In 2013 Africa AM magazine was awarded ECP as “PE Fund of the Year”. Private Equity Africa awarded it for mid-cap “PE Deal of the Year” as reported here, for investment in casual dining chain, Nairobi Java House.

Rise of pension giants set to transform investment in Africa

New giants are arising in African investments – the domestic pension funds. In Nigeria the National Pensions Commission (PenCom) estimated registered pensions to be worth US$14bn in June 2011, with asset values up by 8% in three months; Namibia’s Government Institutions Pension Fund alone is worth some $6bn; South Africa’s pension funds grew at a compound annual growth rate of 14.3% in US dollar terms over 10 years to December 2010, including over 28% in 2010 and Tanzania’s pension industry was audited at $2.1bn for 2010, and growing by 25% a year.

The number of pensioners is set to soar, according to United Nations figures, as the number of people over 60 years in Africa will rise from 55m in 2010 to 213m by 2050, compared to 236m Europeans over 60 years old by 2050. Current pension funds cover only 5%-10% of Africans ranging from 3% in Niger but it used to be 80% in North African countries such as Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Pensions are not available at all in some countries.

Regulatory reforms are driving the growth of African pensions. Recent reformers include Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda. Ghana created a National Pensions Authority with a 2010 act. Reform in Kenya, including investment guidelines and a new regulator, resulted in strong growth and good investment returns. Tanzania passed the Social Security Regulatory Act in 2008. The rising pension industry is likely to boost fund management and equity industries, exits for private equity and even to fill some of the $45bn annual funding gap for infrastructure. For instance, In January 2012, Tanzania’s National Social Security Fund signed an agreement to finance 60% of the $137m cost of building Kigamboni Bridge. South Africa’s $130bn Government Employees Pension Fund is a major investor in the Pan-African Infrastructure Development Fund which raised $625m in 2007 and is targeting $1bn on its second offering.

For more details on Africa’s pension industry, please check my article published in The Africa Report magazine and website, here is the link www.theafricareport.com and for brief profiles of 6 giant African funds, check here.