Coors-Led Private-Equity Fund Opens Office in Johannesburg

One Thousand & One Voices, a private-equity fund started by the great grandson of the founder of Coors Brewing Co., said it’s opening a Johannesburg office after hiring three former Standard Bank Group Ltd. employees.

Navaid Burney, who was chief operating officer at Pangea Exploration (Pty) Ltd. and previously head of Africa private equity for Standard Bank, will lead the Johannesburg team, Denver-based One Thousand & One Voices said in a statement today. Merafe Moloto, managing director at Motseng Investment Holdings, and Michael Adiukwu of Standard Bank’s leveraged and acquisition finance unit, will be directors of the fund.

“A lot of private-equity funds end up as road kill because the teams are assembled for the wrong reasons -- this one was hand-picked,” Hendrik Jordaan, president and chief executive officer of One Thousand & One Voices, said in an interview.

One Thousand & One Voices has raised more than $100 million of the $300 million targeted for the fund, which will invest in the fastest-growing nations on the continent, including Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania and Nigeria. While Standard Bank closed its private-equity operations in 2011, Africa is attracting firms, including Carlyle Group LP and Actis LLP, with faster economic growth rates than developed nations and the potential generated by 1 billion consumers.

The fund has raised money from 15 wealthy families, mostly based in the U.S., and will seek minority stakes of $10 million to $40 million in African companies ranging from the transport to consumer-goods industries.

The first deal will probably be signed before the end of the year, Burney said, adding that One Thousand & One Voices may eventually open offices in Nairobi and Lagos.

Adiukwu may specialize in Nigeria and West Africa while Moloto will probably focus more on southern Africa, Burney said. The fund may also hire someone with expertise in East Africa, he said.

(Updates with CEO comment in third paragraph.)
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