Carlyle expands franchise to Africa

After months of speculation and market chatter, Carlyle has confirmed its recruitment of three African private equity specialists including StanChart’s former head of African private equity, Marlon Chigwende, and former Ethos partner Danie Jordaan.

The Carlyle Group continues to expand its emerging markets reach, having now launched a Sub-Saharan investment group with a trio of seasoned African private equity specialists.

Earlier this month it planted its flag in Peru via a partnership with financial services heavyweight Credicorp.

Carlyle’s Sub-Saharan Africa team will be co-headed by Marlon Chigwende, formerly Standard Chartered Bank’s African private equity chief, and Danie Jordaan, who was previously a partner and executive committee member of Africa-focused Ethos Private Equity. The two will be based in Johannesburg, while a third colleague – Genevieve Sangudi, who established Emerging Capital Partners' Nigeria operations – will be based at an office in Lagos.

Given Carlyle’s model tends towards raising region- or country-specific funds, it’s expected the firm will raise a dedicated vehicle to invest in Sub-Saharan opportunities. The smallest funds it raises tend to aim for the $500 million mark.

A Carlyle spokesperson declined to comment on fundraising plans, citing SEC restrictions.

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, driven by favourable demographics, expanding domestic industries and an improving political environment.

Greg Summe

Asked how the new group would fund deals without a dedicated fund, the spokesman said most of the firm’s funds had the flexibility to invest a portion of their capital, usually up to 20 percent, in regions outside their principal geographic mandate. That was indeed what occurred with the firm’s South American buyout team, which had its first couple deals largely funded by Carlyle’s US buyout fund but had its own fund in place by the time it struck its third deal.

Carlyle’s Sub-Saharan African team will invest in both public and private companies, initially in the consumer goods, financial services, agriculture, infrastructure and energy sectors, according to a statement.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, driven by favourable demographics, expanding domestic industries and an improving political environment,” Greg Summe, Carlyle managing director and vice chairman of global buyout, said in the statement. “Carlyle’s SSA team comprises African nationals with deep market knowledge, broad networks across the continent and extensive experience in private equity transactions. The Africa team’s expertise should be a powerful combination with Carlyle’s deep industry experience and global platform.”

Carlyle noted that since it began investing in Asia in 1999, it has deployed $6.4 billion in equity in emerging markets and has $16.6 billion in emerging markets-related assets under management. It has 160 professionals across 12 offices now in nine emerging market countries.