What are some of the stumbling blocks and complexities faced by private equity managers working towards an exit in Africa?
While Anglophone countries in Africa have traditionally attracted more attention from foreign investors, the Francophone countries are entering the radar of many asset managers. Côte d’Ivoire has led the pack as the largest economy in Francophone West Africa and the fastest growing on the continent, while Senegal is also experiencing its own rapid economic development.
Over the last two decades, African private equity (PE) has emerged as an expanding asset class, both in funds raised and capital deployed. Last year alone 145 transactions worth a combined $3.8bn were announced. Its evolution has been underpinned by the enduring commitment of DFIs, local and international development banks and favourable growth trends, such as population growth, steady increase in disposable income, diverse (and expanding) economies, new and untapped markets - all unique to the African landscape.
Two Africa-focused fund managers have recently joined Capria Network, a global network of impact fund managers, after completing a 7-week “Intensive” program. Brightmore Capital, an investment management and advisory firm focused on the West African region, and Edge Growth, a venture capital firm based in South Africa, have joined existing managers from Africa, Asia, and Central America, bringing the total number of impact investors in the network to nine.
Development finance institutions (DFIs) have traditionally been cornerstone investors in African private equity, helping to stimulate the local private sector by providing a way for small and medium sized enterprises to access capital. Over the past few years a few very large and well-known fund managers have been able to reach a first close without DFI capital. However, there has since been a significant downturn in macro-economic performance and an increase in instability in emerging markets that has tended to reduce global capital inflows into Africa.
For the last eight years, Mediterrania Capital Partners has focused on Capital Growth markets in North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, characterized by consumption-driven economies, pro-business policies, rapid urbanization, favorable demographics, and growing consumer classes.
In 2016, African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) sold investments in three privately-concessioned toll roads in Southern Africa to a consortium of largely existing investors including Public Investment Corporation, Liberty Group, Old Mutual and Africa Finance Corporation. The sale, which was structured via the South Africa Infrastructure Fund (SAIF), represents the largest private equity realization for toll road infrastructure in Africa to date.
AGF catches up with Jonathan Kruger, Director and Portfolio Manager at Africa Merchant Capital (AMC) to learn more about company’s Sub-Sahara Fund. The fund was launched in December 2014 as a Cayman Corporate vehicle and has under $5m under management. On a net of fees annualised basis the fund has returned -10.6% USD since inception.
What are the most promising markets and sectors for African investors? Which factors will drive capital markets and PE performance in 2017? What are the best investment strategies? Find out what experts have to say on these questions and more
It has now been two and a half years since the US Dollar began its +25% appreciation and the underperformance of African equity markets feels as if it has no end. Experienced Africa hands say the past period has been one of the toughest (and probably the most disheartening) to their knowledge. Given the record number of fund closures and dismal equity returns since mid-2014 (down 45%), investors are wondering whether Africa really is “reeling” rather than “rising”.
Southern African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (SAVCA)/ Webber Wentzel PE data for the first three quarters of 2016 shows 140 deals reported across the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region. A third of these were in South Africa, but Nigeria, Kenya and Namibia also featured prominently. Statistics show a significant year-on-year increase in deal flow.
Listed equity markets in Africa (excluding South Africa) present an opportune environment to add investment-alpha (fund returns exceeding the benchmark’s returns). Public disclosures are minimal compared with developed markets, and the research burden of on-site due-diligence is high. These factors lead to relatively inefficient markets, which can be exploited by a skillful manager willing to invest the time and resources required to uncover mispricing opportunities.
Lucid Ventures, an approved FSB -Section 12J Venture Capital Company, has recently completed new investments in the South African hospitality sector. The firm that was launched in early 2016 has been very active in the deal-making scene. It finds no shortage of opportunity in its core focus sectors in South Africa. Africa Global Funds catches up with Jordin Borer, Investment Officer at Lucid Ventures, to discuss new deals and plans for 2017.
The 2008 global financial crisis occurred largely due to an increased level of counterparty credit risk and the inability of counterparties to stand good against their obligations. Approaching a decade on, financial market players should be fully aware of the regulatory ramp-ups and reforms being implemented to negate against anything similar happening in future.