DPI invests $100m in West African bank

The firm is investing alongside Banque Centrale Populaire in Atlantic Business International, a banking group in the UEMOA region.

Development Partners International, a pan-African private equity firm, has invested $100 million in Atlantic Business International (ABI), a banking group in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).

ABI is a subsidiary of Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP), a Morocco-listed bank covering 12 countries. BCP counts French bank BPCE and the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank, among its shareholders.

ABI is the third largest bank in the UEMOA region, the second largest in Côte d’Ivoire in terms of deposits, and has banking and insurance operations across Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Niger, Mali and Guinea Bissau.

“Our investment thesis is based on the opportunity to invest alongside a strong sponsor BCP in a leading, growing and profitable banking franchise, with a strong management team that has delivered solid performance,” Sofiane Lahmar, a deal partner at DPI, said in a statement.

“We want to also capitalise on strong growth prospects and low banking and insurance penetration in the UEMOA region, in particular Côte d’Ivoire. The investment will be used to increase capital in existing ABI subsidiaries, fund IT investments, accelerate the group’s retail expansion as well as acquisition opportunities in and outside the UEMOA region which have been an important part of ABI’s growth strategy.”

DPI made the investment from its second fund, African Development Partners II, which closed on $725 million in March 2015, as reported by Private Equity International.

The fund, which was targeting $500 million and came to market in 2013, held a $250 million first close in September 2013.

The fund’s investor base is made up of corporate and public pension funds, endowments and foundations, funds of funds, family offices, and development finance institutions from across the US, Europe, Middle East and Africa, with US investors making up more than 40 percent, according to DPI.

Among the LPs in the fund are the IFC and the Missouri State Employee's Retirement System.

Investments in the fund’s portfolio include Université Privée de Marrakech, a private university, RTT, a privately-owned parcel distribution company, and HomeChoice, a home-shopping and credit retail business.

In July DPI invested £E300 million (€30 million; $34 million) in Egyptian household appliances and consumer electronics retailer B.TECH, the firm’s first investment in the country.