Aureos enters North Africa

The emerging markets specialist has hired Isabelle Portebois-Benjelloun, the former private equity chief at Moroccan investment bank CFG Group, to establish a North African presence from a base in Casablanca.

Aureos Capital, the emerging markets-focused private equity firm, has established an office in Morocco: its first in North Africa. The firm, which is currently in the process of raising a pan-African fund, has until now been more focused on the Sub-Saharan region.

The Casablancan office is being led by Isabelle Portebois-Benjelloun, the former head of private equity at independent Moroccan investment bank CFG Group. Portebois-Benjelloun, a French national who has been based in North Africa for a decade, spent seven years at CFG, tasked with establishing and building up its private equity division.

Casablanca: Aureos' first step in North Africa

Portebois-Benjelloun joined Aureos in December following a two year stint establishing her own boutique investment firm. Aureos, which already manages $140 million across its three regional African funds, is raising a pan-Africa vehicle, for which it has currently garnered $253.5 million on its way to a $400 million target.

“The African market is becoming more global,” said Portebois-Benjelloun in an interview. “There is much to be done in terms of expanding businesses beyond their own countries’ borders.”

Portebois-Benjelloun added that as Algeria is not yet a viable opportunity for expansion due to political reasons, many Moroccan businesses are looking south to other French-speaking African nations, such as Senegal and more generally the West African Economic and Monetary Union: something for which Aureos’ existing network will prove useful.

The Casablancan office is Aureos’ 26th worldwide and its eighth in Africa.