In News Highlight


Large (for Africa) and noteworthy (for everyone), ARC Investments‘ planned listing on the JSE took place last week, raising R300 million ($23 million) more than its original target of R4 billion ($309 million). As expected, the new entity’s portfolio is made up of almost half of ARC’s financial services assets and all of the firm’s non financial services interests which include its investments in the agriculture and telecommunications.
After current investment commitments, African Rainbow Capital now has about R2 billion to spend on additional deals, of which there seem to be plenty. As co-CEO Johan van Zyl explained to Moneyweb, one of the major forces driving the listing was that the firm has been so inundated with deal opportunities, having looked at some 400 over the last 18 months, that it made sense to raise the additional capital.
French private equity fund manager, LBO France, is taking a majority stake in PIEX, an Africa-focused distributor of pharmaceutical and parapharmaceutical products, in partnership with the firm’s new management team and fellow investors AfricInvest Europe, BNP Paribas Développement, BPI and Trocadéro Capital Partners.
With revenues of €80 million reported in 2016, PIEX acts as distributor for more than 750 pharmaceutical products, selling to about 350 clients in over 30 countries. Three countries, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Cameroon, generate some 46% of the firm’s turnover, reflecting PIEX’s leading market position in Francophone West Africa. The new CEO and management team’s priorities are to push growth further, winning more clients and  market share.
Staying in francophone West Africa, Amethis FInance has backed Sodigaz Group, taking a significant minority stake in the Burkhina Faso-based distributor of LPG bottled gas.The capital, which is fresh equity, will be used for capital expenditures, in particular increasing the stock of gas bottles in Burkina Faso to densify national coverage as well as launch the company’s regional expansion plans.
DOB Equity, as advisors and managers of the Dutch Oak Tree Foundation‘s investments, have sold the group’s shares in the Joseph Initiative. The deal comes about as part of Agilis Partners‘ acquisition of the shares held by multiple minority interests to own a majority stake in the Ugandan grain management and merchandising company. Dutch Oak Tree Foundation, which remains a lender to the company, first backed the Joseph Initiative in 2014, taking a minority position in the firm and helping to finance its early growth.
The IFC is mulling whether to make an equity investment in Africa’s Talking.  If approved, the Nairobi-headquartered mobile technology will received a $6 million equity investment for an undisclosed stake. The company, which counts Silicon Valley venture firm Better Ventures among its shareholders, provides businesses and developers on the continent with a cloud-based platform to integrate messaging, voice and video communication capabilities into their apps. It also acts as a bridge between mobile network operators (MNOs) and developers and enabling access to those locally relevant services offered by the MNOs.
Finally, an interesting podcast to listen to. An interview with Knife Capital‘s Keet van Zyl explores the attractiveness of South Africa’s 12J Venture Capital scheme and explains what entrepreneurial traits venture capital investors look for.