AfricInvest and Siparex raise €20m for Franco-Tunisian fund

Fonds de Co-Localisation Franco Tunisien, which will back Tunisian and French SMEs, has held a first close.

AfricInvest, a pan-African small- and medium-enterprise (SME) focused private equity firm, has teamed up with French mid-market private equity firm Siparex on a fund devoted to developing Franco-Tunisian companies.

The Fonds de Co-Localisation Franco-Tunisien (FCFT) has held a first close on €20 million and has a 10-year lifespan. The vehicle has been backed equally by French state investor Bpifrance and Tunisian state investor Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations Tunisienne. The overall target size of the fund was not disclosed.

The fund, which will be co-managed by Siparex and AfricInvest, will finance Tunisian and French SMEs with high growth potential to develop their activities in both countries. It will target business managed by leaders with an “innovative approach” which are looking for funding and international support, and have the ability to develop or strengthen links with Tunisian and French partners.

The fund has several preferred investment sectors: agri-food industries; information and communications technology; health, pharmaceutical and education; manufacturing, mechanical and electronic industries; transport and logistics; tourism and recreation; and renewable energy and cleantech.

AfricInvest, which had around $1 billion in assets under management across 15 private equity funds, is currently in market with its third fund targeting $266 million, according to the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. The firm’s team of 60 investment professionals operate out of seven offices in Tunis, Casablanca, Algiers, Lagos, Abidjan, Nairobi and Paris.

Siparex, which reached €1.5 billion in assets under management earlier this month, invested close to €150 million in 2015 with exit activity totalling €200 million.

Bpifrance has backed several funds managed by Cathay Capital, which specialises in cross-border investments between France and China. It has committed unspecified amount to the firm’s North American Sino-Fund, which is targeting $350,000; its €500,000 Cathay Global PE Research Fund, an initiative with Shanghai-based business school CEIBS to promote the study of PE trends, models and case studies; and its €500 million Cathay Midcap Growth Fund III, which invests in mid-market companies in France and China.