Looking to Lagos

Standard Bank Private Equity, the captive direct investment business of South Africa-based Standard Bank Group, has established an investment team in Lagos, Nigeria, with the appointment of Lloyd Onaghimon as its head.

Standard Bank Group has had a retail and investment banking presence in Lagos since March 2008, when it acquired 51 percent of IBTC Chartered and subs equently rebranded it as Stanbic IBTC Bank.

The appointment of Onaghimon, who has been given a mandate to build a six-strong team of private equity professionals in the Nigerian capital, represents the banking captive's first move in the country. Onaghimon is an eight-year veteran of IBTC who was investing the bank's money in small- and medium-sized businesses as part of a Nigerian government-led scheme.

The move into Nigeria is a logical progression for Standard Bank Private Equity, which has so far concentrated its efforts on South Africa, says Graham Thomas, global head of the operation. “South Africa and Nigeria between them represent more than 50 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa's GDP,” he says, adding: “We will look at deals in other African nations, but the bulk will come from these two countries.”

Standard Bank Private Equity targets investments in consumer-related industries, such as branded goods, retail, media and telecoms. These are sectors that in Nigeria are benefiting from a secular trend of increased wealth, urbanisation and consumer spending, says Thomas. Emerging markets fund of funds manager CDC predicts that Nigeria's economic growth will remain at around 6 percent in 2009, in line with that achieved in recent years.

As well as consumer-related assets, Standard Bank Private Equity will also invest in infrastructure and natural resources, a process which will be overseen by specialist global teams, likely to be based in London, and executed in conjunction with Standard's local deal teams.

Standard Bank Group operates in emerging markets throughout the world. Its private equity arm, which invests off the bank's balance sheet, has funds under management of around $1 billion.