Emerging Capital Partners, the buyout firm that’s made more than 50 investments in Africa, is seeking as much as $750 million as it pursues further deals.
The funds will be sought in the next 12-18 months from development agencies, sovereign wealth and pension funds and family wealth offices, joint Chief Executive Officer Vincent Le Guennou said May 28 in an interview in Abidjan.
Acquisitions made with the additional funds would take ECP’s assets to $3.25 billion. The Washington-based firm holds stakes in 15 companies and has invested in 45 countries since it was set up in 2000, targeting chiefly financial services, power and water, telecommunications and consumer goods.
“We want to continue to do what we know to do, which is investing in companies and help them develop,” Le Guennou said.
ECP’s investments include control of water and power producer Eranove SA, which operates in Ivory Coast, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo, a majority stake in bank holding company Oragroup SA and more than 17 percent of mobile phone tower provider IHS Holding Ltd. They are examples of companies Le Guennou said are the “regional champions” the firm prefers to own.
West Africa is the most attractive region on the continent for buyout firms, according to a 2014 African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association report, as economic growth far outpaces South Africa, its most-developed economy.
Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer and the largest economy in Francophone West Africa, targets growth of 10 percent this year. Senegal expects expansion of 5.4 percent, while the International Monetary Fund sees Nigeria growing 4.8 percent. South Africa’s central bank predicts 2.1 percent growth.
In March, ECP agreed to sell its 26 percent stake in Abidjan-based financial services group NSIA Participations to Montreal-based National Bank of Canada and Amethis Africa Finance. No financial details were disclosed for the deal, which Le Guennou said is awaiting regulatory approval.