Helios plans $1.25bn Africa fund

Helios plans $1.25bn Africa fund

Private equity investment firm Helios reportedly plans to raise $1.25bn to invest in projects across the continent.

The Africa-focussed firm, is in talks with asset managers and development agencies for its biggest fund yet on the continent, sources told Bloomberg.

The London-based firm could start the fund as early as this year, Bloomberg said.

The group, founded almost a decade ago by a pair of Nigerian-born dealmakers, Tope Lawani and Babatunde Soyoye, bills itself as the largest Africa-focussed investment company, and manages around $3.6bn in assets.

Over the past few years private equity investment has returned to the continent lured by some of the world’s fastest economic growth rates, improving infrastructure and growing share of the global population.

Private equity investment in Africa, dipped in 2018, while the overall number of deals grew, according to data from the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA).

Last year the number of deals rose to 186 from 171 the year before, but the total value of those deals fell for a third consecutive year to $3.5bn, from $3.9bn in 2017.

Over the last six months some private funds, such as New York-based Blackstone Group and banker Bob Diamond, have scaled back investment on the continent.

Investment firm, Blackstone is selling its Africa subsidiary Black Rhino Group almost five years after it committed to spending billions of dollars alongside Nigerian tycoon Aliko Dangote.

The news of the fund also follows the collapse of Dubai-based Abraaj Group, which left investors in Africa looking for a new fund manager.

The private equity firm was forced into liquidation in June after several investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, commissioned an audit to investigate alleged mismanagement of money in its $14bn healthcare fund.

In Q4 2018, there were 215 private equity investment firms with 307 offices based across 27 sub-Saharan African markets, research by Asoko Insight and Africa Capital Digest found. This excludes firms that have an Africa focus but are not based on the continent.

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Written by African Business Magazine

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