Understanding Private Equity and Alternative Investments
Although there are a variety of options for raising capital and attracting investors, equity is one of the two most sought-after options.
It allows a company to give a share of ownership of its business to an investor in expectation of a return as the business grows. Unlike public equity (stock market) with ownership of shares in a public company, private equity (PE) simply means ownership of shares in a private company.
Private equity is a type of capital investment (asset or security) made to (target) companies that are not publicly traded on a stock exchange.
As an alternative form of private financing, private equity allows investors directly invest in companies through which such investors gain an ownership stake in the companies. Investors seek PE funds to earn returns that are considered to be better than those from the public equity markets.
To avoid debt, companies can sell their stocks to raise money that can be used to fund new technology, make acquisitions, expand working capital, and fund projects geared towards business growth.
Usually, the financial information on stocks of such a company is not disclosed to the public, rather, an investor can only speculate on the asset worth of the intending company.
Private equity involves three parties: the investors who supply the capital, the private equity firm that manages and invests the money on behalf of the investor via a private equity fund, and the company (known as Portfolio Company) that the private equity firm invests in.
A private equity firm’s ultimate goal is to sell or exit portfolio companies to deliver superior returns (above the benchmark return also referred to as Internal Rate of Return (IRR) to earn carried interests).
The most widely adopted investment strategies by PE investments are leveraged buyouts (LBOs) and venture capital (VC) investments.
In LBOs, a PE firm will raise debt from institutional investors on the back of a target company and assume control of the target company, while using the cash flows of the target company to pay the acquisition capital. Whereas, the VC makes investment in young and fast-growing companies in an industry that has the potential for exponential growth while adding value to the firm being taken up. In some cases, PE firms grow and improve a middle-market company with the aim to sell or exit to a mature company within a specified period.
Generally, private equity firms are active investors who are involved in the board level and monitor the financial and operating performance of portfolio companies.
However, some private equity firms are involved in the day-to-day operations of portfolio companies and may take C-level positions such as CEO, CFO, CIO and COO to ensure that value creation initiatives are implemented in the portfolio companies to ensure that increase in revenue, improvement of operational efficiency and corporate governance.
A private equity fund is typically opened to institutional and accredited (individual or business entity) investors who invest large sums of money for a long period.
Institutional investors are companies or organisations like endowment funds, commercial banks, hedge funds, mutual fund managers, and insurance companies that invest money on behalf of other people.
Accredited investors on the other hand are individuals or a business entity that invest based on their income, net worth, asset size, governance status, or professional experience. The reason is that private equity as an asset class is generally illiquid and has a long lock-up period and only ideal for investors with a large asset size (or AuM).
Other alternative investments include infrastructure assets, art, antique furniture, automobiles, real estate, commodities, exchange-traded funds, and hedge funds.
The market performance of traditional investments and alternative investments are independent of each other, hence, the inclusion of alternative investments in a portfolio can reduce its risk through diversification.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, PE investments in Nigeria have been flourishing and as a result, in 2019, Nigeria was described by the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA) as one of the most attractive destinations for PE investments. Between January and February 2019, PE in Nigeria recorded investments worth N277.64 billion ($767 million), an improvement of 345 per cent compared to N62.37 billion ($172 million) worth of deals closed during the corresponding period in 2018.
The deals within the first two months of 2019 included the 100 per cent acquisition of Chi Ltd by Coca-Cola Company for the sum of $500 million, which accounted for 65 per cent of the total private equity investments within that period.
Other notable deals included Access Bank Plc’s acquisition of Diamond Bank Plc, the Partech- led Series A funding of Kudi, a financial services provider, and the acquisition of Wakanow, a travel agency, by the Carlyle Group valued at $40 million, to mention a few.
Why invest in private equity?
Private equity firms have grown over the years to become attractive investment vehicles for wealthy individuals and institutions who manage large pools of capital.
PE often guarantees better returns compared to other investments, with some private equity managers outperforming the public markets.
To diversify holdings, investors turn to private equity for higher returns than do public market. Specifically, such investments are for investors who can afford to have capital locked up for long periods.
Investors in private equity funds are called limited partners. As a limited partner, you get a return on your investment when the private equity firm sells the company it purchases while the private equity firm (also called general partners) takes some percentage as profit.
In Nigeria, different PE firms like FBNQuest Funds have their specific deal sizes, investment horizons, sector focus, fundraising timelines, and exit strategies.
As one of the leading alternative investments managers in Nigeria, FBNQuest Funds has been in operations for over 17 years and has invested in over 70 private companies through direct investing and their expertise and exposure to PE and VC Funds. Domiciled in Nigeria, the firm has investments in companies in Nigeria and other countries within the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
Bitcoin, Ethereum, Others Plunge as US Sues Binance, Founder
By Adedapo Adesanya
The cryptocurrency market is under fresh headwinds as the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused Binance and its Chief Executive Officer, Mr Changpeng Zhao, of mishandling customer funds, misleading investors and regulators, as well as breaking securities rules.
Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and a host of other digital coins are now trading at their lowest in almost three months.
The US SEC complaint filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C., listed 13 charges against Binance, Mr Zhao, and the operator of its purportedly independent US exchange.
The agency laid out a range of alleged violations against the world’s biggest crypto exchange and its leader and warned that “The public should beware of investing any of their hard-earned assets with or on these unlawful platforms.”
The SEC alleged that Binance artificially inflated its trading volumes, diverted customer funds, failed to restrict US customers from its platform and misled investors about its market surveillance controls.
The SEC also claimed that Binance and its billionaire founder and one of the crypto industry’s highest-profile moguls, secretly controlled customers’ assets, allowing them to commingle and divert investor funds “as they please.”
Binance created separate US entities “as part of an elaborate scheme to evade U.S. federal securities laws,” the SEC also alleged, citing a number of practices first reported by Reuters in a series of investigations into the exchange published this year and in 2022.
From almost three years ago until June 2022, the SEC also alleged that a trading firm owned and controlled by Mr Zhao, Sigma Chain, engaged in so-called wash trading that artificially inflated the trading volume of crypto asset securities on the Binance.US platform. The SEC said Sigma Chain spent $11 million from an account on a yacht.
SEC Chair Gary Gensler said, “We allege that Zhao and Binance entities engaged in an extensive web of deception, conflicts of interest, lack of disclosure, and calculated evasion of the law.”
In a blog post, Binance, in its defence, said: “We intend to defend our platform vigorously,” adding that “because Binance is not a US exchange, the SEC’s actions are limited in reach.”
“All user assets on Binance and Binance affiliate platforms, including Binance.US, are safe and secure,” the blog post said.
In the statement, Binance said it had “actively cooperated” with the SEC from the start and respectfully disagreed with the SEC’s allegations.
Binance said it had been trying to find a “reasonable resolution” with the SEC, but the agency “at the eleventh hour” issued new requests and went to court, adding the SEC’s actions appeared to be an effort to “claim jurisdictional ground from other regulators.”
As the events continue to unfold, the market is reacting negatively as BTC has lost over 4.1 per cent in the last 24 hours to trade at $25,721.67 while ETH has lost 3.00 per cent to $1,817.01 while Binance Coin (BNB), Binance’s token, has lost nearly 8 per cent of its value as it trades at $277.33.
Other tokens like Cardano (ADA), Solana (SOL), Litecon (LTC), Polygon (MATIC), and Dogecoin (DOGE) have also lost more than 6-7 per cent of their respective values.
BUA Cement Gets $500m for Two New Production Lines
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria’s second-largest cement producer, BUA Cement, has gotten a $500 million financing package from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to develop two new production lines in Sokoto State.
In what is IFC’s largest-ever investment in northern Nigeria, the financing package, which saw input from African and European partners to BUA Cement Plc, will help the company part-finance and develop two new, energy-efficient cement production lines that will create up to 12,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The funding includes a $160.5 million loan from IFC’s account, a $94.5 million loan through the Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program (MCPP), and $245 million in parallel loans from syndication partners; the African Development Bank (AfDB) – $100 million, the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) – $100 million, and the German Investment Corporation, Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) – $45 million.
The financing was announced during the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
It was disclosed that the plants would run partly on alternative fuels derived from waste and solar power. Each will produce about three million tons of cement annually when complete, serving markets in Nigeria, Niger, and Burkina Faso.
Speaking on this, Mr Abdul Samad Rabiu, Chairman and Founder of BUA Group, said that “BUA is delighted to partner with IFC and other esteemed institutions in securing this $500 million facility to develop energy-efficient cement production capacity and strengthen our equipment and logistics capabilities in northern Nigeria.
“In line with our commitment to sustainability and ESG principles, this investment will create jobs and contribute to economic and infrastructural development within Nigeria and the greater Sahel region.
“We are particularly pleased to have successfully gone through the rigorous process with IFC, AfDB, AFC, and DEG, which validates our responsible business practices. By focusing on greener fuels and enhancing our equipment and logistics platform, BUA Cement is building a foundation for sustainable infrastructure growth and a more inclusive society,” he said.
“We are pleased to join with our partners to support BUA with an investment that will boost industrialization, create jobs and deliver economic growth in northern Nigeria, a region with significant economic potential,” said Mr Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director.
Investing in northern Nigeria is integral to IFC’s strategy to promote sustainable development in underserved regions. This includes areas with limited opportunities and a need for increased private-sector engagement.
The new plants will provide local developers with a reliable and affordable source of cement, and bolster the construction of essential infrastructure, fostering economic growth and prosperity for the region.
The project is expected to create about 1,000 direct jobs and 10,800 indirect jobs. Direct jobs include those in manufacturing, engineering, and advanced automation systems. Indirect jobs include those in the cleaning, maintenance, mining, and transportation sectors.
The financing package will also allow BUA to replace some of its diesel trucks with vehicles that are run partly on natural gas, over time producing fewer emissions. As part of the project, IFC will also advise BUA on developing a gender-inclusive workplace strategy that creates more opportunities for women across its operations.
“Following an initial $200 million investment in BUA Group in 2021, we are proud to play another key role in this landmark manufacturing project to transform northern Nigeria’s construction sector and the entire country. Investing in this project will sustainably build Nigeria’s local manufacturing capacity, empower local communities, and create employment opportunities. AFC is committed to working with our partners to accelerate development impact through infrastructure solutions that support value addition, industrialization, and job creation throughout Africa,” added Mr Samaila Zubairu, CEO & President of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
“The African Development Bank is pleased to be partnering with IFC and BUA on this expansion project as it is aligned with our priority strategies of industrializing Africa and improving the quality of lives of Africans through the increase in cement production, which will lead to the development of additional affordable housing and critical infrastructure in Nigeria and neighbouring West African countries while supporting the use of cleaner energy at BUA’s Sokoto facility,” said Mr Solomon Quaynor, Vice President of AfDB’s Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization arm.
“DEG’s mission is to be a reliable partner to private sector enterprises as drivers of development and creators of qualified jobs. We are pleased to contribute to this transaction together with our development finance partner institutions. Together we support BUA in its transformation towards a more sustainable production by implementing innovative technology. The significant reduction of CO2 emissions and the creation of decent jobs in a region with many vulnerable households are key factors for DEG’s financing,” said Mr Gunnar Stork, Senior Director at DEG.
The investment in BUA is part of IFC’s strategy to promote diversified, inclusive growth and job creation in Nigeria, where IFC supports the manufacturing agribusiness, healthcare, infrastructure, technology, and financial services sectors. IFC has an active investment portfolio of $2.3 billion in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s OTC Stock Market Depreciates by 1.40%
By Adedapo Adesanya
The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange opened the week in the negative territory as the bourse witnessed a 1.40 per cent loss on Monday, June 5.
This was influenced by the sole price loser, FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc, which fell by N4.00 to sell at N71.00 per unit compared with the preceding session’s N75.00 per unit.
The milk-producing firm pushed down the efforts of Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP) Plc and Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) Plc to lift the OTC stock market.
NDEP gained N1.16 during the session to finish at N246.21 per share versus N245.05 per share, and IGI Plc appreciated by 1 Kobo to 8 Kobo from 7 Kobo.
At the close of business, the market capitalisation of the bourse decreased by N14.30 billion to N1.008 trillion from N1.022 trillion, and the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) recorded a 10.35 points decline to wrap the session at 728.86 points compared with 739.21 points of the previous session.
Amid the weak sentiment, there was a 1,768.8 per cent rise in the volume of securities traded at the bourse yesterday to 22.7 million units from the previous trading session’s N1.2 million, the value of shares transacted by investors rose by 151.0 per cent to N142.9 million from the N56.9 million reported last Friday, as the number of deals surged by 500.0 per cent to 48 deals from eight deals.
Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with 832.1 million units worth N1.3 billion, followed by IGI Plc with 628.3 units valued at N49.5 million, and UBN Property Plc with 395.9 million units valued at N336.6 million.
Similarly, VFD Group Plc was the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) with 11.0 million units valued at N2.5 billion, trailed by Geo-Fluids Plc with 832.1 million units worth N1.3 billion, and FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc with the sale of 17.1 million units worth N1.2 billion.
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