Archive for the 'Ghana' Category

Sub-Saharan African sovereigns outside SA to raise $7bn in fixed income

African countries (apart from South Africa) are set to place $7 billion of debt this year, buoyed by low interest rates and a huge global appetite. According to this article in Bloomberg Businessweek by Roben Farzad, this year’s debt issues will be more than the previous 5 years combined and African capital markets are feeling the boom.
No wonder international investors who are “grabbing for yield and growth” (according to Farzad) are looking to Africa which the International Monetary Fund forecasts will grow at 5.6% this year against 1.2% in developed countries. But Africa’s terrible infrastructure, including electricity, bridges, roads and wastewater treatment, is costing African sat least 2 percentage points of growth. Some of the new bond proceeds are likely to go on infrastructure, which needs investments of up to $93 billion a year.
The article cites research from JP Morgan Chase that average yields on African debt fell 88 basis points in the past 12 months, to 4.35%. “Nigeria, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Namibia, the Congo, Senegal, and the Seychelles have all seen their borrowing costs fall this year.”
“It’s a hugely exciting story,” Jim O’Neill, the chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management who plans to retire this year, said in an April 23 interview with Bloomberg Television in London, writes Bloomberg reporter Chris Kay: “The only thing one has to be a little bit careful of are many of those markets are still very undeveloped and suddenly there’s a lot of people around the world regarding Africa to be sort of fashionable and trendy.”
Farzad wonders how easy it will be to “service so much easy-money debt when the credit cycle turns, or if commodities and political stability decline. At least for now, though, you get the impression that sub-Saharan Africa has turned a corner in global capital markets.” And journalist Chris Kay quotes Charles Robertson, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital: “For governments, great, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I still don’t believe investors are getting risk-adjusted returns in the dollar-bond space.”
According to Kay, debt-forgiveness programmes have helped 45 African nations cut debt to about 42% of gross domestic product this year from an average 120% in 2000, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and IMF estimates. South Africa’s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says debt will peak at 40% of GDP in 2016, compared with more than 100% for the U.S. and an average 93% in the eurozone.
Another reason why Africa offers lower risk is that taxpayers have no expectations of massive social and other spending in nearly all countries. Meanwhile global appetites are shown by the $20 trillion reportedly invested in debt at less than 1% yield.

Some potential issues
Nigeria planning to offer $1bn in Eurobonds and a $500m Diaspora bond, according to Minister of State for Finance Yerima Ngama. It was recently included in JP Morgan and Barclays local bond indices. Yields on the existing $500m Eurobond, due 2021, were down to 4.05% by 3 May, from a peak of 7.30% in October 2011.
Kenya really boosted investor confidence in Africa with its peaceful outcome after elections on 4 March and the Finance Minister Robinson Githae said on 11 March they could be in line to issue up to $1bn by September.
Ghana fuelled by an oil boom, has seen its debt yields on the 10-year bonds down 3.43 percentage points to 4.82% since their issue in October 2007, said Bloomberg.
Zambia successfully raised $750m last year at 5.625% and is thinking to return for another $1bn. Yields were up 20 basis points to 5.66% by 3 May.
Tanzania has asked Citigroup to help it get a credit rating before issuing a maiden Eurobond of at least $500m. Finance Minister William Mgimwa said a total of $2.5bn was bid for a private offering of $600m of Government debt in March. According to this story on Reuters that bond’s pricing and structure at the time had shocked markets and appeared to benefit investors: “The cheaply priced US$600m seven-year private placement was described as a “disaster” by one banker. And certainly the immediate secondary market performance looked terrible. The bonds jumped 2.75 points on their first day of trading.. That works out at a cost to the government of US$4m a year in coupon payments, assuming that the bonds could have priced at the tighter level.”
Angola did a private sale of $1bn in debt in 2012 and will go for $2 billion this year, according to Andrey Kostin Chairman of VTB Bank OJSC, who helped arrange the first issuance, last October.
Mozambique and Uganda may also issue foreign currency bonds of $500m each, according to Moody’s last October.
Gabon’s $1bn of dollar bonds are down 4.78 percentage points to 3.13% since they were issued in December 2007.

Jacana merges with InReturn Capital, launches $75m private equity fund for SMEs

Entrepreneurs running small and medium-enterprises (SMEs) in West and East Africa stand to benefit from a new $75 million private equity fund. The announcement follows the news on 29 Jan that two long-term partners are merging.
InReturn Capital (www.inreturncapital.com) is a private-equity company based in Nairobi (Kenya) that invests in SMEs across East Africa, and it plans to close a legal merger in the first quarter of 2013 with London (UK)-based Jacana Partners (www.jacanapartners.com), a private equity specialist in SME investments, which has been building capacity in private equity managers in Africa.
The new partnership will offer a significant boost for East African entrepreneurs seeking value-add expertise and growth capital. InReturn was investing in transaction size of $0.5m-$1.3m and the partnership with Jacana will mean increased access to private equity investment, dedicated investment teams on-the-ground coupled with international private equity expertise and larger deal sizes of between $1m-$5m.
InReturn has rebranded as Jacana Partners. The two firms have been working together for 3 years. Jacana’s West African operations (previously Fidelity Capital Partners) rebranded in August 2012. This creates a leading pan-African SME private equity firm with pan-African coverage which will manage the new $75m SME fund expected to close later this year.
Jacana currently operates in 6 markets (Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda) and intends to move into 2 new countries with the new fund, possibly Ethiopia, Nigeria and/or Francophone West Africa. It is the only pan-African private equity company with a permanent commitment to the SME sector.
Jacana has invested over $20m to date in 20 portfolio companies employing over 1,300 people. In East Africa, 5 investments have been made to date in a stone quarry, an eye care centre, a supplier of tarpaulins to the relief sector, a serviced office provider and a logistics company and several other transactions are contemplated in the next few months.
Professor Njuguna Ndung’u, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya commented in a Jacana press release: “East Africa is undergoing a period of rapid economic growth largely fuelled by the expansion of our small-to-medium sized enterprises – key generators of job creation and GDP growth. The merger being rolled out today brings scale to the financing of SMEs which will boost their contribution to East Africa’s economic growth. It is my expectation that we shall see more similar initiatives to scale up financing to SMEs that lie at the heart of development blueprints for governments in the region.’’

Passionate about Africa’s entrepreneurs

Getting closer: Ezra Musoke (left) and Anthony Gichini (right) of InReturn Capital flank Simon Merchant CEO of Jacana Partners.


Anthony Gichini, Partner at InReturn Capital said: “The merger of InReturn Capital with Jacana Partners represents a big step forward in private equity investment for SMEs in East Africa. Jacana’s unique model combines international private equity experts with highly-experienced local teams, meaning our entrepreneurs benefit from strategic advice from international business experts as well as dedicated African investment managers on-the-ground who can add-value and provide hands-on management support. This combination is our winning formula which helps us build strong businesses and deliver superior returns.”
Simon Merchant, CEO of Jacana says: “Jacana Partners is a pan-African private equity firm that invests in entrepreneurs, builds successful SMEs and delivers sustainable financial and social returns. We do this because we are passionate about entrepreneurs as the key drivers of job creation and long-term economic development in Africa. Jacana is uniquely structured to overcome the challenges of private equity investing in SMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa. Combining internationally experienced private equity veterans with highly skilled teams on-the-ground, Jacana has the experience, knowledge and resources to structure great deals, grow sustainable businesses and deliver superior returns.
“By merging our African and European operations, we are consolidating our business into a single fund manager, operating under the Jacana brand. As well as investing the remaining capital from our existing funds, the new Jacana will deploy a new $75m SME fund that we are currently in the processing of raising from international investors.
“The new fund will allow us to significantly increase the scale and geographic reach of our operations and will be invested in SMEs in up to 8 countries in East and West Africa. We firmly believe that a unified Jacana operating under the unique Jacana identity is the optimal platform upon which we can fulfill our mission of building the best SME private equity team in Africa, creating sustainable jobs and supporting long-term economic growth.”

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.

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.”

Silk Invest says Egypt elections will be turning point

Mark Voss of fund manager Silk Invest (www.silkinvest.com) foresees a turning point for the Egyptian market in a recent note. He also notes growth in Tunisia, with companies back to pre-revolution levels, tourism boom in Morocco, giant growth in Ghana and telecom payments innovation in Kenya.
He says the company clearly sees value in the market, but the evolving politics has cast a cloud on investor sentimenty. “We believe this is now lifting as the country’s election commission chief announced a roadmap for parliamentary elections – and a crucial step in transitioning to civilian rule, from 21 November to 4 March 2012. This should also pave the way forward for the Presidential elections by early next year. Going forward, we suspect that this may mark a turning point in the market’s fortunes.” He adds that there is no shortage of lenders to help the country get back on its feet. He adds that core inflation was 6.9% in August from 8.7% in July and Suez Canal revenues climbed 8.5% year-on-year in August.
Also on the post-revolutionary theme, he looks at Tunisia and said it “continued its upward trend with many companies now back at their pre-Jasmine revolution price levels”. Tourism in Morocco was surging and by end of July was up nearly 10% year on year.
For the rest of Africa he pointed out that the IMF forecasts 13% GDP growth for Ghana this year and noted the Chinese gave a US$3 billion loan for further infrastructure developments. In Kenya: “interest rates were notched slightly up to help control inflation and reduce local currency volatility. Following an unexpected increase in harvested maize, food inflation in the country is expected to decline”. Telecoms innovation continues full speed in Kenya, as Airtel Kenya unveiled an online payment system enabling mobile subscribers to use handsets to make purchases online, while Safaricom and I&M Bank launched a service that allows M-pesa customers to transfer money from their accounts to a pre-paid visa card – which can be used globally.

Tullow Oil listing to double value of shares on Ghana Stock Exchange

Tullow Oil plc (www.tullowoil.com) is expected to start trading on the Ghana Stock Exchange (www.gse.com.gh) from 27 July after allocating 3,531,546 ordinary shares of 10p each in a successful offer of up to 4,000,000 shares. The company says this is the largest primary share offer completed on the GSE and will more than double the market capitalisation.
The offer was open between 13 June and 4 July and shares were offered at 31 Ghana Cedis. During this period, 10,147 valid applications were received for 3,531,546 shares, representing 109.5 million Ghana Cedis ($72.3m). Everyone who submitted a valid application is to receive their shares in full, applicants are to have their GSE Securities Depository Accounts credited with their allotted shares today (25 July) and can start trading the shares on 27 July.
Tullow is also applying to the UK Listing Authority (www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/doing/ukla) to admit the extra shares to the Official List (they rank pari passu with previous shares) and to the London Stock Exchange plc (www.londonstockexchange.com) for the shares to be admitted to trading, also expected for 27 July. The same would apply to the Irish Stock Exchange (www.ise.ie).
Aidan Heavey, chief executive, said in a company announcement: “I am delighted by the success of our offer on the Ghana Stock Exchange, the largest primary share offer ever completed in Ghana. Ghana remains at the heart of Tullow’s investment decisions and underpins our long-term future in Africa.
“I would like to welcome all new shareholders, including Ghana’s National Basic Pension Scheme, to Tullow and thank them for their investment in the company. I look forward to updating all our shareholders with news of our progress, both in Ghana and beyond, over the coming years.”
BLOG PREDICTION: Look out for the rise of African financial institutions such as pension funds and life assurance. What do you think?

Vital impact PE fund raises $250 m and invests in Angolan housing

A private equity fund that invests in housing, agriculture, education and health says it has raised more than $250 million for its first fund, Vital Capital Fund I. Eytan Stibbe, founding managing partner at Vital Capital Investments LP (www.vital-capital.com) and chief investment officer was reported as telling Bloomberg yesterday (3 May) the fund aimed to invest in Angola, Ghana and Mozambique.
The fund includes retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark among its advisory board members, is a proponent of “impact investing,” a strategy that places capital in ventures with social or environmental goals.
Stibbe says Vital Capital has already invested in Kora Housing, a developer of affordable housing in Angola. It aims to raise another $250 million.

Mobius blogs on why he likes Africa

From the blog of Mark Mobius of Templeton Investments:
“While Africa does have challenges, I am encouraged by another side of Africa that is gradually emerging with the development of capital markets, consumerism and technology.
I believe the opportunities for the development of Africa’s markets are appealing primarily because of the strong growth numbers now emerging out of the continent.
Africa is expected to grow more than 7% annually in the next 20 years, due to an improving investment environment, better economic management and China’s rising demand for Africa’s resources. More than 100 African companies have revenues in excess of $1 billion. Africa also has impressive stores of resources, not only in minerals but also in food — 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land is found in Africa. As global demand for hard and soft commodities continues to grow, I believe Africa is in an enviable position with its vast natural resources. The potential for long-term growth in consumer-related areas is also very attractive, with around 1 billion inhabitants on the African continent. These are people, just like many others all over the world, with aspirations to own their own homes and buy possessions such as cars, refrigerators, washing machines and the like.
Within Africa, Nigeria is one of the frontier markets that I like. The country has a population of about 155 million people. It is rich in oil and gas reserves and raw materials such as iron ore, coal and bauxite. In addition, its climate and large areas of fertile land lend themselves favorably to agriculture. Nigeria’s economy has benefited from strong commodity prices; it is estimated to have grown 7.4% in 2010 and is forecasted to grow 7.4% again in 2011. The highly-anticipated Nigerian presidential election may be seen by many as a measure of the country’s progress and stability despite the clashes and unrest running up to the election. Our local sources remain confident about the elections overall and are not expecting any significant derailing event. We share this sentiment for the most part, given the current positive economic environment, fueled by high oil prices, as well as more tangible reforms in the country. Moreover, banks in Nigeria are particularly interesting. In our view, the government’s recent bailout of banks has made the nation’s bank stocks cheap, creating some very interesting investment opportunities.
I also see a lot of potential in markets such as Ghana and Kenya. Ghana was the first sub-Saharan country in colonial Africa to gain independence. Although it endured an extended period of military rule, a new constitution and multi-party politics were introduced in 1992. Currently, Ghana is seen by many as one of the most politically stable democracies in sub-Saharan Africa. We are excited about the prospects for consumer-related sectors in this market, given its relatively young and dynamic population of more than 20 million. The country is also rich in natural resources such as oil and gold. Oil production in the offshore Jubilee field commenced in December 2010 and is likely to make a significant contribution to the country’s economic growth going forward. Of course, related investment in infrastructure is also likely to require financing, so we are looking closely at the financial sector as well.
The Kenyan economy appears to be doing well at the moment. The post-election violence in late 2007 and early 2008 took many by surprise, but it culminated in the establishment of a coalition government and the adoption of a new constitution in 2010, creating a solid foundation for future stability and growth. Kenya’s position on the east coast of Africa allows it to act as a hub for trade and investment flows from the east into the rest of the continent. Exports, predominantly tea and horticultural products, have recovered strongly, and the tourism sector is also seeing a strong rebound in the form of incoming foreigners.
There are also many challenges to investing in Africa.”

JSE Africa Board launches advisory committee to boost appeal

So far, South Africa’s JSE Ltd (www.jse.co.za) securities exchange has achieved limited success with its Africa Board, aimed to encourage dual-listing of leading African equities on the JSE as part of a strategy to help capital markets development. On 8 April the JSE Executive appointed an advisory committee (Africa Board Advisory Committee) to boost the JSE Africa Board, part of the main equities market, to achieve its mission and strategic objective to provide a world-class stock exchange platform and help attract capital to the African continent.
The committee was launched in Accra, Ghana, and comprises 9 members from several African countries. Membership of the Advisory Committee will also grow and change over time. The chair is Nathan Mintah, previously a partner at private equity firm Kingdom Zephyr Africa Management Company and having over 18 years’ of investment banking and operating experience. Bolaji Balogun, CEO of Chapel Hill Denham Group, Nigeria is another member.
The task of the committee is to promote the business, goals and objectives of the JSE Africa Board to the main stakeholders of the investment community, including issuers, investors, service providers (i.e. banks, auditing firms, legal firms etc), governments and regulators. The committee is also mandated to advise on operational matters relating to the Africa Board, including reviewing the strategy and development of relevant new products that facilitate capital flows into Africa; advise from time to time on any proposed amendments and/or improvements to the JSE Africa Board model; assist business development efforts by facilitating key meetings in jurisdictions where Advisory Committee members have influence; offer advice on protocol, regulatory interpretation in different jurisdictions and assist in sourcing funding for the operations of the Africa Board.
Speaking at a media briefing in Accra on 8 April, Maureen Dlamini, Executive Head of the JSE Africa Board said: “The Africa Board Advisory Committee will help us achieve the objectives espoused by the JSE Africa Board that include attracting foreign direct investment to Africa in order to provide the finance necessary for development, and to allow the people of Africa to share in the African growth story.”
Mr Mintah said his appointment as Chairperson of the advisory committee is a timely and important challenge: “We need a concerted effort to successfully promote the growth of capital markets on the African continent and the JSE Africa Board is the ideal platform to achieve this goal.”
Dlamini said the world has become aware of the business opportunities in Africa. “The JSE Africa Board is ready and able to provide African companies that have pan-African strategies with a springboard to increase their footprint in Africa, using a trading platform that is widely respected,” she says.
The JSE, which operates Africa’s largest stock exchange, has had two listings since creating its Africa board in 2009. Trustco, a micro financial services group, has seen a 20% boost in its share price since it was listed in February 2009. Wilderness Holdings, a Botswana-based ecotourism company, has climbed 8.7% since it listed in April 2010. Both companies have primary listings in their home markets.

Private equity firms invest $79 mn in telecoms towers

Leading international private equity firms are investing $79 million to build and acquire mobile phone towers in sub-Saharan Africa. Investec Asset Management (www.investecassetmanagement.com), the International Finance Corporation (www.ifc.org, a member of the World Bank Group), and the Netherlands Development Finance Company (www.fmo.nl) are taking equity in IHS Nigeria Plc (www.ihsnigeria.net) which says it is the largest provider of telecommunications infrastructure in West Africa.
IHS is reported to have more than 2,700 towers under its management and is still expanding its ownership and leasing operations throughout Africa. It has subsidiaries in Ghana, Sudan and Tanzania and employs 800 people, according to the website and is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. IHS Executive Director, Issam Darwish, said in a report on the website that the fund would enhance telecommunications services in the country by breaking current barriers in the sector. Investec made the money available via its African private equity funds. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
According to the report, Darwish said: “IHS is dedicated to partnering with operators and investors across the African continent and is thrilled to add the IFC, FMO and Investec Asset Management’s private equity fund to our shareholder base. Since 2001, the company’s core strategy has been to serve the growing needs of the telecommunications operators in Africa and enhance the quality of the network performance.
“The investors understand the unique needs of the growing telecoms sector and the changing competitive landscape. The additional financing package also includes up to $115 million of IFC-led senior debt, mezzanine and syndicated loans, which will allow us to continue our leadership role in providing managed and co-location services to mobile operators and users in Africa.”
Darwish said IHS intended to bring down costs, expand coverage, accelerate technology rollouts and improve the quality of service for subscribers in Africa.
Last October, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan had called for more investments in the telecoms sector as Nigeria sought to become Africa’s telecommunications hub.
Yvonne Bakkum, Director Private Equity, FMO, reportedly said: “Access to telecommunications continues to be essential for the economic and social development of Africa. IHS increases the efficiency and quality of existing networks and helps operators accelerate network expansion into rural areas. FMO is proud to contribute to this through our investment in IHS, alongside Investec and IFC.”
IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. Andrew Gunther, Senior Manager, IFC Infrastructure and Natural Resources in Africa and Latin America, said: “Broadening access to affordable mobile telecommunications services remains a crucial part of development across Africa. IHS’ track record of improving quality while reducing costs will continue to provide savings that benefit all constituents of telecommunications in Africa.
“With this investment, IFC is helping improve quality of service, expand network coverage, reduce deployment, operating and usage costs – while accelerating the innovation that governments and operators can deliver throughout Africa.”
Investec Asset Management is one of the largest third-party investors on the African continent. It was established in 1991 and has grown into an international business managing approximately $80 billion (end Sept 2010). Mark Jennings, Investment Principal, Investec Asset Management: “IHS has a 10-year track record of profitable growth, is led by an energetic and experienced management team which includes the founders of the business, and is poised for substantial further growth which the new funding will assist. We are pleased to be associated with this dynamic business and team.”
In October 2009, the IFC invested $100 million into Helios Towers Nigeria Ltd. (www.heliostowers.com), set up by Helios Investment Partners as reported on this blog. HTN builds and maintains a network of telecommunications towers and leases space to providers of wireless telecommunications services.