Helios to close Fund III on $1.1bn

The pan-African firm has raised the largest fund dedicated to African private equity

Helios Investment Partners, a pan-African private equity firm, will shortly close its third fund on $1.1 billion, according to a statement.

The fund, which came to market in January 2014, had a $1 billion target and held a first close on $355 million in March 2014.

Helios received “strong support from existing investors”, who represent over 60 percent of the capital, said the firm who added that Helios III will be the “largest fund dedicated to African private equity”. The firm's prior fund, Helios II, closed in 2011 on its $900 million hard-cap. 

Helios III attracted sovereign wealth funds, corporate and public pension funds, endowments and foundations, funds of funds, family offices and development finance institutions. Almost half of the fund’s investors are US-based, while European investors accounted for 20 percent of the fund and 18 percent from Asia, according to a source familiar with the matter. Approximately 10 percent of LPs came from Africa, with the remainder coming from the rest of the world.

“Much has been made of the rise of the African consumer, and that does, from time to time, give rise to potential investment opportunities. However, as discretionary incomes remain low and the cost of basic goods and services is high, Helios believes that addressing the supply side of the economy is generally more attractive,” Tope Lawani, co-founder and managing partner of Helios Investment Partners, said in the statement. “Helios’ strategy focuses on investing in businesses that lead the provision of core economic infrastructure: de-bottlenecking the economy; increasing efficiencies; and reducing living costs for households and operating costs for businesses,” he added.

In line with the investment strategy of Helios’ existing funds, Helios III will acquire and build platform companies, operating in the core economic sectors of the key African countries. The firm will invest between $30 million and $200 million of equity per transaction.

Helios has made one investment through Helios III, acquiring a minority stake in ARM Pensions, Nigeria’s largest independent pension fund manager with over $2.2 billion of pension assets under management.

Established in 2004, led and managed by a predominantly African team and based in London, Lagos and Nairobi, Helios has completed investments in countries across the African continent, including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Angola, South Africa and Morocco. Helios’ portfolio companies operate in more than 35 countries in all regions of the continent.