Meet the most active private equity investors in Africa

 Meet the most active private equity investors in Africa

Private equity firms and development financial institutions who do PE-style transactions signed over 150 deals in Africa last year, data compiled by The Capital Quest shows.

Even as the birth of multiple unicorns in the startup world grabbed headlines, PE investors were equally on the ball backing entrepreneurs on the continent.

In total, the value of PE transactions in the continent including a few deals that are yet to get regulatory approvals, add up to around $7 billion.

Of these, deals where the value of the transaction was announced add up to $4.9 billion. The bulk of the other deals are believed to be small in size (under $10 million). Adding the value based on the average ticket size of the investor in the past, we get to a figure of close to $7 billion. This was much higher than the amount invested by venture capital investors in 2021.

We dived into the data for private equity transactions including those that have been signed and awaiting a formal regulatory clearance though they haven’t been formally announced publicly, to pick a list of the most prolific PE investors in the continent last year.

For the exercise, we included DFIs like CDC Group Plc and International Finance Corporation who have done PE-style investments in the continent.

However, we excluded their investments in third-party PE and VC funds and picked only direct deals or bets on operating firms.

We also factored out the debt transactions by DFIs in this exercise (watch out for our take on the private debt deals in 2021).

In total, we get a list of three dozen PE investors who struck a deal more than once last year. Of these, a quarter also participated in a few venture-stage transactions in the startup world, typically as part of a consortium or even otherwise.

If we look at the list of only PE deals then, too, the list of top investors doesn’t shake.

IFC, the private-sector investment arm of the World Bank, tops the charts in both cases. The UK’s CDC and France’s Proparco also figure in the most active list with Germany’s DEG close behind.

If we look only at private investors, we have names like FirstRand Bank’s unit RMB, which has sealed investments via separate verticals including RMB Corvest (on-balance sheet deals) and RMB Ventures.

African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), Africinvest, Adenia, Amethis, ECP, Old Mutual and Helios are other investors in the list.

To be fair, AIIM is part of Old Mutual and if their separate deals are clubbed together then they would end up at top of the charts in the PE-only charts. But the two are run independently with separate sets of funds.

Honourable Mentions

Besides these, PE firms like Oasis Capital of Ghana, Vumela, Metier, Namibia’s Eos Capital, Sanlam PE, renewable energy-focused Revego, food and agri-focused Zebu, Tana Capital and AP Moller Capital figured among the more prolific investors’ list in 2021.

There is also a list of another 15 firms that signed two deals last year. This list includes Danish development financier IFU and Qatar Investment Authority, in addition to around a dozen PE investors.

This set has names like ATA Capital, EXEO, hospitality-focused investor Kasada, Legacy Africa Capital, Stanlib PE, East Africa-focused Zoscales, 1K1V (whose founder is under regulatory scanner in the US), Actis, African Capital Alliance, InfraCo, INMA, Bopa Morua PE and SPE Capital.

SPE Capital sneaks in despite having signing just one PE transaction as it came in as an early-stage investor in Moroccan B2B ecommerce star, which raised a record sum in the country.

Vivek Sinha

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The Capital Quest