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Africa: Resilience in the Private Equity Market



private equity market

By Angela Simpson and Lydia Shadrach-Razzino

Private markets in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have seen a continuous rise in activity since the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest AVCA Private Capital Activity Report 2022 revealed that $7.6 billion of private capital was invested in 2022, resulting in a 3% growth in deal value across the continent last year after a similarly upbeat 2021. According to the report, 37% of the deal volume came from multi-region investments.

Challenges, risks and resilience

This resilience is despite the impact of numerous crises over the last couple of years, especially the looming global recession, supply chain disruptions and soaring energy prices. These factors have led to fears that we could be entering an extended period of high inflation and poor economic growth, but for private equity investors, challenging periods can also provide opportunities for access to value. While not immune to market challenges, the private equity market has the resilience to survive and thrive.

On the positive side, the high amounts of available capital mean that fund managers have more to deploy in a better value environment. The private sector has a remarkable capacity to adapt to changing economic conditions and capitalize on new opportunities. This is boosted by the fact that, to a large extent, risk management has already been factored in. According to Deloitte’s Private Equity Review 2022, 41% of PE firms in South Africa have prioritized risk management in portfolio companies, and 14% of private equity firms in the country said they would focus on bolt-on and tuck-in acquisitions to augment their portfolio companies.


The general consensus is that exits in the African market might take a little longer going forward, and the fund life of a typical vehicle might need to be extended as managers hold assets a little longer to turn the time and growth into a premium. We have not seen many IPOs recently, and the cyclical nature of the market impacts this. The recent AVCA report details how private capital investors achieved 82 full exits in 2022, the highest number ever recorded in a single year on the continent. Another recent AVCA survey showed that LPs see opportunism in the PE market in Africa for the medium- to long-term, and more than 90 per cent are hopeful that returns in Africa over the next few years will be similar to those in other emerging markets.


Take-privates are also expected to increase in popularity in 2023. There have been some delistings from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in the past 18 months, and this trend will likely continue. According to the AmaranthCX database of South African company listings and delistings, South Africa has been averaging about 25 delistings a year. This, however, also presents a good opportunity for PE companies as they can take over and delist struggling companies. Taking a longer-term view, PE sponsors can work with the management team of a delisted company to transform it, using innovative methods to create a stronger and more resilient company, removing the burden of reporting requirements and the market spotlight.

Adaptability in financing

Increasing inflation and rising rates have also resulted in a decrease in the availability of cheap debt financing. Fund managers have to generate organic growth and are looking at driving a real improvement in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). Add-on and buy-and-build strategies are also proving popular because they are helping to mitigate the higher valuations that may have been paid for the acquisition.

There has also been an increase in direct lending, with investors seeking to partner with lenders that can provide deal certainty for acquisitions. However, direct lending hold sizes have been reduced, which has required that financing structures be adapted to facilitate longer-term deals. Other innovative financing methods include permanent capital vehicles, which result in a longer fund life and enable PE firms to hold assets for longer, something that aligns well with the longer holding period often seen in African portfolio companies.

Blended finance is another fundraising avenue that has risen in popularity, and it means that investors can use catalytic funding, such as grants to mobilize private sector investment. According to Convergence, SSA has been the most targeted region for blended finance transactions to date, representing 33 per cent of blended finance transactions launched in 2017–2019 and 43 per cent of the market historically.

Another factor that has mitigated the pandemic’s impact on PE activity in Africa is the composition of the limited partner base of firms operating on the continent, where development finance institutions (DFIs) continue to play a significant role. We have also seen increasing interest in and appetite for start-ups among DFIs, with some pretty edgy new ventures attracting their attention.

DFIs also continue to be the main providers of long-term infrastructure finance in Africa. Local and regional banks, specialist infrastructure funds, and private equity and debt firms are stepping in to collaborate with DFIs and access returns. DFIs can shoulder political risk, access government protections in a way that others can’t, enter markets others can’t, and are uniquely capable of facilitating long-term lending. Multi-finance and blended solutions are therefore expected to grow in popularity as a way to de-risk deals and support a broader ecosystem of lenders.

Resilience in sustainability

In terms of preparing for future market resilience, there is a growing focus among PE investors on the green, low-carbon, and sustainable initiatives in Africa. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) have been incorporated into PE funds’ general investment considerations for several years now, but it’s fair to say that these are no longer nice-to-haves. Energy efficiency, community healthcare, staff training and qualifications, greenhouse gas emissions, the highest standards of governance and best business practices, inclusion and diversity, social impact, and litigation risks are some factors they have been considering. Alongside the increased focus of equity investors on ESG, some lenders are also prescribing particular ESG principles that a company must meet to receive funding.

It appears that the PE sector is shining in Africa as we head into the second half of 2023, and investments in the sector are playing a catalytic role in sustainable growth and investment on the continent. The Deal Leaders International report was optimistic about the M&A market in SSA, saying that foreign direct investment would increase in the next few years, despite the global economic recession. However, current economic challenges have required resilience, adaptability and agility from the PE market, leading to changes in the structure and length of deals, the implementation of new financing methods, effective risk management, and an increasing focus on ESG.

Angela Simpson and Lydia Shadrach-Razzino are Partners and co-heads of the Corporate/M&A Practice, Baker McKenzie Johannesburg


I am Leaving Nigeria Better in 2023 Than in 2015—Buhari



Buhari leaving Nigeria better in 2023

By Adedapo Adesanya

President Muhammadu Buhari has claimed that he is leaving Nigeria better in 2023 than when his administration came into power in 2015.

The outgoing president said this when he addressed the nation in a farewell broadcast on Sunday morning, ahead of his exit from power on Monday, May 29.

President Buhari will on Monday hand over power to the president-elect, Mr Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was declared the winner of the February 25 election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In his address, the President expressed his gratitude to Nigerians and explained the thinking behind some of his administration’s key decisions.

Read the full text of his broadcast below:


My fellow Nigerian brothers, sisters and friends of Nigeria.

2. I address you today, in my last assignment as a democratically elected President of our great and well endowed nation, with a deep sense of gratitude to God, a great deal of appreciation to the Nigerian people and a modest sense of fulfilment.

3. Today we mark and celebrate another peaceful transition of power from one elected government to another in our steady march to improve and sustain Nigeria’s democracy.

4. This year we witnessed the most keenly contested presidential elections since the First Republic and this demonstrates that our democracy is getting better and more entrenched with each election.

5. We must as a nation improve and sustain gains we make in the electoral process, on an incremental basis for Nigeria to take its rightful place among nations.

6. Our democracy provides for, allows and encourages seeking redress for any perceived injustices, enabling some candidates and political parties that did not agree with the results to go to court.

7. Irrespective of the outcome of the various cases, I urge all parties involved to accept the decision of our courts and join hands to build a better Nigeria.

8. I salute the doggedness and resilience of all the Presidential Candidates and their political parties for believing in our judicial system by taking their grievances with the election results to court.

9. In the course of the campaigns, we had argued and disagreed on how to make Nigeria better but we never disagreed or had any doubts that Nigeria has to be better.

10. As your President, I call on all of us to bring to bear the strength of our individualism, the power of our unity, the convictions of our beliefs to make Nigeria work better and together with one spirit and one purpose.

11. To my brother, friend and fellow worker in the political terrain for the past ten years – Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu -, I congratulate you on the realisation of your dream, which was propelled by a burning passion to put Nigeria amongst the leading nations of the world.

12. You have indeed worked for this day and God has crowned your efforts. I have no doubt that your passion for excellence, reliance on competence, fairness in relationships, commitment to equity, loyalty to the country and desire for Nigeria to be globally relevant would come through for you, under God’s guidance, as you lead our country to levels higher that I am leaving.

13. You are the best candidate among all the contestants and Nigerians have chosen well.

14. The last eight years have been an exciting experience in my desire and commitment to see a Nigeria in which public goods and services are available, and accessible within a united, peaceful and secure nation.

15. Fellow Nigerians, on the strength of your over-whelming support for me and my political party, I started this journey with a great deal of promise and expectation from you. I never intended to be just politically correct but to do the correct things that will make meaningful impact on the lives of the common Nigerian.

16. This high expectation was not misplaced because, like the ordinary Nigerian, I had grown tired of watching the country progressively moving away from the path of correctness.

17. To ensure that our democracy remains resilient and our elected representatives remain accountable to the people, I am leaving behind an electoral process which guarantees that votes count, results are credible, elections are fair and transparent and the influence of money in politics reduced to the barest minimum. And Nigerians can elect leaders of their choice.

18. We are already seeing the outcome of this process as it provided an even playing field where persons without any political God-Father or access to money defeated other well-resourced candidates.

19. The Nigerian economy has become more resilient due to the various strategies put in place to ensure that our economy remained afloat during cases of global economic downturns.

20. You would all recall the supply chain disruptions and economic downturn that the world witnessed between 2020 and 2022 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The deftness of our response to the pandemic still remains a global best practice.

21. Furthermore, we increased the ability of the poor and rural Nigerians to earn a living, provided more food for millions in our villages and gave our women opportunities to earn a living.

22. Young men and women in urban centres were also supported to put their skills into productive use. Our administration also provided an enabling environment for the private sector to engage in businesses for which their return on investments is guaranteed.

23. The private sector proved a strong partner in our drive to build a resilient and sustainable economy as evidenced by the growing number of turn-key projects in various sectors of the economy.

24. In the course of revamping the economy, we made some difficult choices, most of which yielded the desired results. Some of the measures led to temporary pain and suffering for which I sincerely apologised to my fellow countrymen, but the measures were taken for the overall good of the country.

25. Mindful of the need to ensure adequate infrastructure to drive economic growth, we completed age-long projects and processes notably amongst which are the Petroleum Industry Act, completion of some power projects, completion of the second Niger bridge and various important roads linking cities and states.

26. Our battle to ensure that all Nigerians live in a safe and secure environment has achieved considerable results. As I complete my term in office, we have been able to reduce the incidences of banditry, terrorism, armed robbery and other criminal activities considerably.

27. To sustain the gains made so far, I call on all Nigerians to be more vigilant and support the security agencies by ensuring that our values defined by being your brothers’ keeper govern our actions.

28. Up-till now, I still grieve for our children still in captivity, mourn with parents, friends and relatives of all those that lost loved ones in the days of the senseless brigandage and carnage. For all those under unlawful captivity, our security agencies are working round the clock to secure their release unharmed.

29. Fellow Nigerians, you know how dear the desire in my heart to rid the country of corrupt practices that had consistently diminished our efforts to be a great country.

30. I did pursue this commitment relentlessly, in spite of the expected pushback. I am happy that considerable progress had been made in repatriating huge sums of money back to the country and also taking over properties illegally acquired from our commonwealth.

31. To improve service delivery, we began the implementation of a number of reforms aimed at producing an Efficient, Productive, Incorruptible and Citizen-oriented (EPIC) Federal Civil Service and the results are beginning to show.

32. On the international scene, Nigeria’s influence continues to grow as exemplified by notable Nigerians occupying headship and leadership positions in renowned global bodies.

33. Our democracy is built on and continues to thrive on the principles of separation of powers. The leadership and members of the National Assembly deserve my appreciation for their patriotism which did not detract from their roles as a check to the executive arm.

34. I also want to use this opportunity to express my appreciation to a good number of Nigerians who provided their support and encouragement to help me navigate the exciting journey in moving Nigeria forward.

35. I cannot and will not forget the millions who prayed for me during my illness in my first term of office. I am constantly praying for you and for Nigeria to thrive in peace.

36. As I retire home to Daura, Katsina State, I feel fulfilled that we have started the Nigeria Re-Birth by taking the initial critical steps and I am convinced the in-coming administration will quicken the pace of this walk to see a Nigeria that fulfills its destiny to be a great nation.

37. I am confident that I am leaving office with Nigeria better in 2023 than in 2015.

38. I thank you all. And may God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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Nigerian Exchange Rebounds by 0.20% on Renewed Bargain Hunting



Nigerian Exchange Limited

By Dipo Olowookere

Renewed bargain hunting triggered a 0.20 per cent rebound on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Friday as investors look forward to Monday’s swearing-in of Mr Bola Tinubu as the next President of Nigeria.

Investor sentiment improved yesterday as the stock exchange finished with 42 price gainers and 11 price losers, indicating a positive market breadth index.

NASCON topped the gainers’ chart after it appreciated by 10.00 per cent to N15.40, Conoil rose by 9.98 per cent to N47.95, NEM Insurance improved by 9.95 per cent to N4.75, NCR Nigeria increased by 9.68 per cent to N3.06, and FTN Cocoa chalked up 9.68 per cent to 68 Kobo.

On the flip side, Sovereign Trust Insurance lost 7.69 per cent to finish at 36 Kobo, Mutual Benefits depreciated by 5.56 per cent to 34 Kobo, NGX Group declined by 4.04 per cent to N27.35, Royal Exchange depleted by 4.00 per cent to 48 Kobo, and Tantalizers fell by 3.85 per cent to 25 Kobo.

The insurance counter recorded the biggest gain during the session after it closed 2.40 per cent higher, the banking sector rose by 2.14 per cent, the energy index rose by 1.05 per cent, the consumer goods counter expanded by 0.41 per cent, while the industrial goods sector depreciated by 0.88 per cent.

Consequently, the All-Share Index (ASI) increased by 152.28 points to 52,973.88 points from 52,821.60 points, and the market capitalisation grew by N83 billion to N28.845 trillion from N28.762 trillion.

During the session, investors transacted 461.8 million stocks worth N7.7 billion in 6,520 deals compared with the 377.1 million stocks worth N9.2 billion traded in 5,879 deals on Thursday, representing a decline in the trading value by 16.30 per cent and an increase in the trading volume and the number of deals by 22.46 per cent, and 10.90 per cent apiece.

UBA sold the most stocks on Friday (59.4 million units), Access Holdings traded 51.5 million shares, Zenith Bank exchanged 50.0 million equities, GTCO traded 41.0 million stocks, and Transcorp transacted 29.7 million shares.

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Geo-Fluids Triggers 0.12% Appreciation at NASD OTC Bourse




By Adedapo Adesanya

The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange appreciated by 0.12 per cent on Friday, May 26, following the upward movement in the price of Geo-Fluids Plc.

The company, which is the most traded stock by volume at the exchange in the year so far, closed the session as the sole price mover after it gained 28 Kobo to finish at N3.08 per share versus the previous closing price of N2.80 per share.

This pushed the total value of the NASD OTC bourse higher by N1.19 billion at the close of business to N1.002 trillion from N1.001 trillion, as the market index, NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI), increased by 0.86 points to wrap the session at 724.12 points compared with the 723.26 points recorded at the previous session.

There was a surge in the volume of securities traded at the bourse by 125.6 per cent at the final trading session of the week, as investors exchanged 117,100 units, in contrast to the 51,910 units traded at the preceding session.

In the same vein, the value of shares traded yesterday went higher by 1,603.4 per cent as the total equities traded amounted to N4.2 million versus the N245,560.00 recorded a day earlier.

These transactions were completed in six deals compared with the seven deals carried out in the previous trading session, representing a decline of 14.3 per cent.

Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with 832.1 million units valued at N1.3 billion, Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) Plc stood in second place with 627.7 units worth N49.4 million, while UBN Property Plc was in third place with 390.9 million units valued at N332.0 million.

Similarly, VFD Group Plc was the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) with 10.6 million units worth N2.4 billion, Geo-Fluids Plc followed with 832.1 million units valued at N1.3 billion, as FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc remained in third place with 12.4 million units worth N874.5 million.

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