EMPEA appoints Ethos founder as Africa Council chair

André Roux, who succeeds Helios COO Henri Obi in the role, will also serve as senior advisor to the industry association.

The Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA) has appointed André Roux as a senior advisor and chair of its Africa Council, according to a statement from the industry association.

Roux, who previously served on EMPEA’s board of directors from the association’s inception in 2004 to the end of 2013, is a founding partner at South Africa-based private equity firm Ethos Private Equity.

EMPEA’s Africa Council, one of its longest-running leadership councils, was previously chaired by Henri Obi, chief operating officer at pan-African private equity firm Helios Investment Partners.

Roux established Ethos in 1984, and is “widely regarded as one of the pioneers of South African private equity”, EMPEA said. Prior to setting up Ethos, Roux was chief executive of FirstCorp Capital Investors and FirstCorp Merchant Bank.

In the statement, Roux said EMPEA has played a “pivotal role” for more than a decade in “fostering a vibrant, well-informed private equity industry across emerging markets”.

“As the organisation stands at the forefront of the sustained wave of investor interest in the continent and serves the need for deeper intelligence about the diverse markets and sectors it covers, we are honoured to have his continued guidance and leadership in EMPEA’s efforts,” EMPEA president and CEO Robert van Zweiten said.

“Henry Obi admirably stewarded the Africa Council, taking on one of EMPEA’s first regional leadership bodies and active member-to-member discussion forums. We are tremendously grateful for his service and look forward to his on-going involvement in the Africa Council and association.”

EMPEA’s member councils are made up of industry practitioners, who formally advise the association on specific topics and executive initiatives around defined industry needs, according to its website.

Other GPs on the Africa Council include Development Partners International CEO and partner Runa Alam, Emerging Capital Partners co-CEO Hurley Doddy, who also chairs the board of the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, Abraaj Group partner Davinder Sikand, African Capital Alliance CEO Okechukwu Enelamah and partner Afolabi Oladele, and Actis partner Adiba Ighodaro.

EMPEA currently serves among 340 member firms, which include fund managers, institutional investors and other industry stakeholders.

In January Ethos acquired a 65 percent stake in equipment rental and sale business The Eazi Group in a deal valuing the business at R1.6 billion (€89 million; $97 million), its fifth investment in the last 12 months, taking its R7.9 billion sixth fund to more than 50 percent committed.

Deal volumes on the buy-side in sub-Saharan Africa were down in the first three quarters of 2015, with just $741 million invested in the region compared to $1.67 billion for the same period in 2014, according to data from EMPEA.

Meanwhile the total value of private equity funds raised in Africa leaped to $4.3 billion in 2015, up from $1.9 billion the year before, according to AVCA’s annual PE Data Tracker report.

Funds that reached final close in 2015 included Abraaj Africa Fund III on $990 million, Helios Investors III on $1.1 billion, and DPI’s African Development Partners II on $725 million.