Actis, the pan-emerging markets private equity firm, has won two awards for its preeminent African and energy expertise. The firm has been named ‘2014 Firm of the Year in Africa’ by Private Equity International (PEI) and ‘2014 African Infrastructure Fund Manager of the Year’ by Infrastructure Investor.
The awards had an exceptionally strong turnout this year with over 35,000 votes cast by investors, fund managers and advisors across all categories. They are the only awards voted for by the industry itself.
This is the seventh time in eight years that Actis has been voted ‘Firm of the Year in Africa’ for its continued, successful deal activity. This year, Actis won the category for three substantial pan-African investments and two high-profile exits, including the listing of Ugandan electricity business, Umeme, on the Ugandan and Kenyan stock exchanges.
Separately, ‘African Infrastructure Fund Manager of the year’ was awarded for the successful two-stage IPO of Umeme and a $202m purchase of Cameroon’s national utility. In the first tranche of the IPO, a large portion of Actis’s stake was bought by more than 20 investors in a heavily oversubscribed secondary offer through both the Ugandan Securities Exchange and the Nairobi Stock Exchange. Offered in May last year, this was the largest secondary block trade to date on the USE. It was followed a few weeks later by a further sale to Ugandan retail investors.
Commenting on the awards, John van Wyk, Head of Africa at Actis, said: “We are delighted to win Africa firm of the year for the seventh time. With over $2bn invested across the continent, Africa is at the core of our strategy. We’re seeing GDP growth and the emergence of middle income markets, and people are increasingly buying into the growth story. If you have the sector expertise and the local knowledge, there’s plenty to do.”
Commenting on the Umeme IPO, David Grylls, Partner at Actis added: “The listing marked a significant milestone in the turnaround story of a state-owned distribution business. We are already benefiting from this experience as, following the successful acquisition, we embark on the turnaround of Eneo, Cameroon’s integrated utility.”
Over 40% of Actis’s investments are located in Africa with over $2bn invested across 23 countries on the continent. The firm’s African investment activities last year included $65m into Tekkie Town, South Africa’s leading independent trainer retailer; a substantial exit from Alexander Forbes, in one of the largest listings in sub-Saharan Africa ever; a two-stage IPO of Umeme; a $202m investment into Cameroon’s national integrated utility; an exit of its stake in Commercial International Bank (CIB), the leading private bank in Egypt; an exit from its stake in Diamond Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading banks; a $100m commitment to establish Credit Services Holdings (CSH), a buy-and-build in credit services; an exit from RTT Holdings, Africa’s largest privately-owned parcel distribution company and an investment in IDH, the largest Egyptian private diagnostics business. In Energy, the firm has deployed over $600m across seven African countries.
Actis is also the most experienced private equity real estate investor in sub-Saharan Africa, with a track record that pre-dates its first closed-end fund formed in 2006. Since then the firm has led investment in 15 developments totalling $1.5bn at cost across seven markets, and sold five of them. Its highly experienced team has an average of 15 years’ experience of private equity real estate.