KKR has appointed a new senior advisor in Africa as the global private equity group continues building its investment capabilities there, the New York-based firm announced.
Dominique Lafont was previously the president and CEO of Bolloré Africa Logistics where he oversaw transport and warehousing operations in 45 African countries, 25,000 employees and 250 subsidiaries.
His appointment comes just over a year after the private equity group completed its first deal in Africa with the acquisition of an undisclosed stake in Ethiopian rose producer and distributor Afriflora deploying $200 million from its €6.7 billion European Fund III in June 2014, according to Private Equity International.
KKR is focused on making private equity, infrastructure and energy-related investments in Africa, where it hired head of Africa operations Kayode Akinola in 2013.
The fund manager is competing with a number of other large US-based alternative asset management firms for deal flow, including the Carlyle Group that closed its Sub-Saharan buyout fund at $698 million in April 2014, and the Blackstone Group, which hired Emir Muhammad Sanusi II to steward its African infrastructure investment unit Black Rhino in June.
US firms face competition from a number of other financial sponsors active in Africa, such as the Middle East's Abraaj Group which has invested more than $3 billion in the continent over more than 10 years.
Abraaj announced on 6 July its exit from pan-African insurance holding company UAP Holdings, which has subsidiaries in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan, through the sale of its 13.6 percent stake in the holding company to London's Old Mutual. The private equity firm did not disclose details about the return on its investment.
According to the Bright Africa 2015 report by analytics consultancy RisCura, direct investment from foreign private equity firms has been the dominant driver of private capital investment in the continent, but pension funds across the continent and particularly those in South Africa, have also been active in making private equity investment in Africa. Regulations in South Africa, for instance, allow up to 10% of a pension's assets to be invested in private equity.