Mezz fund manager Vantage exits from maiden bet in Francophone Africa

 Mezz fund manager Vantage exits from maiden bet in Francophone Africa

Vantage Capital, a South African multi-asset alternative investment fund manager that is on course to raise its new mezzanine fund, ended 2022 with its second exit move within five months by signing off from Pétro Ivoire, a distributor of petroleum and gas products in Côte d’Ivoire.

Pétro Ivoire has a leading position in the gas-to-consumer segment and operates about 80 service stations around the country.

Vantage had provided €19 million of mezzanine funding in December 2018 to enable the founding family to regain a controlling stake in the company from two exiting private equity investors. With this new ownership structure, supported by Vantage’s investment, the company continued to invest in additional service stations and increased its gas bottling capacity.

Driss Benabdeslam, Associate Partner at Vantage Capital, said: “Pétro Ivoire is the perfect example of the value that can be added by mezzanine funding. After being backed by several private equity funds in its earlier stages of growth, our funding brought the founding family a solution that allowed them to exit these private equity investors and regain control of their business without having to write out a big equity cheque.”

Luc Albinski, Executive Chairman at Vantage Capital, added: “Pétro Ivoire is a flagship transaction for us. It was Vantage’s first investment in Francophone Africa, and it also marked the first-ever leveraged management buy-out structured in Francophone West Africa.”

The exit was closed last month, the second liquidity move in 2022 by the firm. It exited South African property developer Alleyroads last year, after sealing two new deals. In March, it provided $10 million in mezzanine debt funding to Egyptian private equity firm Compass Capital to acquire six Grade-A office buildings in East Cairo.

Vantage made its maiden bet from the fourth mezz fund in January last year. It invested ZAR430 million ($28.4 million) in Seaton Estates, a middle to upper-medium residential coastal development located in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.

Founded in 2001, Vantage Capital has offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Apart from the mezz funds, it has previously raised one technology fund and two renewable energy vehicles.

Vantage Capital was one of the first to raise an independent mezzanine fund in South Africa in 2006 when it was not a well understood product.

Since then, it has taken its mezzanine product across Africa to 15 target markets, having invested in 11 of them.

Mezzanine debt is an alternative source of risk capital that fills a funding shortfall where banks lack appetite to lend and where shareholders either lack cash equity to contribute or don’t wish to dilute their stake.

Since 2006, Vantage Capital’s mezzanine division has made 31 investments across three funds into 11 countries.

Vivek Sinha

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