Actis in $220m Africa energy deal

The UK-based emerging markets firm has added to its African energy portfolio by acquiring utilities in Cameroon.

UK-based Actis has agreed to acquire energy assets in Cameroon from US energy company AES in a deal worth $220 million, according to a statement from the firm.

Actis will take a 56 percent stake in Cameroon’s national integrated utility, Société Nationale d’Electricité (SONEL), and in two independent power plants, Kribi and Dibamba.

Africa deals are gradually moving away from growth capital to buyouts. “That’s going to open up some good opportunities”

Mark Richards, partner

SONEL supplies electricity to over 800,000 customer connections throughout the country, while Kribi and Dibamba contribute a combined 300 MW towards Cameroon’s generation capacity. 
 
Actis has energy investments in five countries in Africa, with another pending approval, the firm said. Last year, the firm floated 40 percent of Umeme, Uganda’s national grid which it has owned since 2005, on the Kenyan and Ugandan stock exchanges. Actis also owns Energuate, the operator of Guatemala’s national electricity grid.
 
Mark Richards, partner at the firm, recently told Private Equity International that Africa deals are gradually moving away from growth capital to buyouts. “That’s going to open up some good opportunities.”

Actis closed its fourth global fund in September, PEI reported earlier. Together with a $160 million African co-investment pool, the fund has raised $1.7 billion. 

The African co-investment vehicle is still open and has a small amount of capital to raise before it hits its cap.

Actis is a London-headquartered private equity firm focused on investing in emerging markets worldwide. It has been investing in Africa since the 1940s as part of CDC Group, the UK government's development finance institution. 

The firm spun out of CDC in 2004, with the Actis management team buying out a 60 percent stake. In April 2012, the firm bought the remaining 40 percent stake from the government.