CVCI in $25m telecoms deal

The firm has invested in Shamrock-backed SkyVision Holdings via its $200m African fund launched in tandem with CDC.

Citi Venture Capital International and CDC Group are again targeting the African telecom sector.

The $200 million Citigroup Venture Capital International Africa Fund, to which CDC committed $100 million in 2007 and Citi matched, has invested $25 million in SkyVision Holdings.

Africa needs reliable Internet and data connectivity to generate economic growth.

Sunil Nair

Controlled by the Disney family’s investment firm, Shamrock Holdings, SkyVision is a UK-based company that provides telecommunications services to emerging markets via satellite and fibre optic cables. The company has coverage in more than 120 countries, operates in more than 50 countries and expects this year’s sales to surpass $80 million, according to a statement.

“Africa needs reliable Internet and data connectivity to generate economic growth; in this respect we are delighted to partner with SkyVision, a leader in its field, with a strong management, like-minded partners and excellent growth prospects,” said Sunil Nair, CVCI managing director.

The CVCI Africa fund now owns 23 percent of SkyVision, while Shamrock holds 30 percent, Australian company Cyphertech owns 30 percent and the balance is held by company employees and management.

This would not be the first time CDC and CVCI have collaborated in the telecom sector; their investment in Celtel, a pan-African mobile operator that was sold to a Kuwaiti group for $3.4 billion in 2005, yielded a five times return for CDC Capital Partners, the group that spun out to become Actis.

CVCI, founded in 2001 to invest in emerging markets, is part of Citi Alternative Investments.