DPI picks up Algerian packaging stake from AfricInvest

The pan-African firm is acquiring a 49% stake for $55m from AfricInvest and the founding family.

Development Partners International, a pan-African private equity firm, has acquired a 49 percent stake in Algerian packaging business Général Emballage (GE) for $55 million, according to a statement from the firm.

DPI acquired the stake alongside German development agency DEG from fellow African private equity firm AfricInvest and the founding Batouche family.

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.

AfricInvest first invested in GE, a corrugated cardboard manufacturer and processor, in 2009 using capital from its Maghreb Private Equity Fund II, which closed above its €80-100 million target on €125 million in 2008.

Investors in that fund include the International Finance Corporation, the European Investment Fund, BPI France, the African Development Bank, Proparco, FMO and CDC Group, according to PEI data.

IFC and CDC are also investors in ADP II, according to PEI data.

The firm backed founding partner Ramadan Batouche to execute an ambitious business plan to develop printing and cutting technology. During AfricInvest’s investment, the company increased its turnover and EBITDA by five and eight times respectively, and increased its staff from 510 employees to more than 1,170, according to a statement from AfricInvest.

GE also put in place an export network with its first commercial base in Tunis. The company led several tree-planting campaigns to draw attention to the risks of deforestation, and partnered with the University of Béjaia in Algeria to launch a degree programme that includes specialised training in the packaging industry.

DPI will seek to continue GE’s track record of growth and profitability, consolidate its position in the Algerian market and seek expansion into other African and Mediterranean markets, it said.

The investment follows DPI’s $100 million investment in Atlantic Business International (ABI), a banking group in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), earlier this month, as reported by PEI.

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. It 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.

Other investments in the ADP II 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.