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Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Amethis hits first close on fund with big Egypt earmark + Amazon inaugurates 10 Ramadan warehouse

Amethis’ new private equity fund has a big Egypt earmark, will see the firm open an office here: Africa-focused, Paris-headquartered private equity outfit Amethis could invest more than EUR 30 mn in Egyptian SMEs after it hit a first close of its second MENA fund, Enterprise understands. The firm this week announced that it had reached an EUR 85 mn (USD 101) first close on its Amethis MENA Fund II (AMFII), 35-40% of which could be allocated to SMEs in Egypt, Amethis Investment Directors Toufic Khoueiry and Adnane Zerhouni told us.

Who’s in? The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have both committed EUR 20 mn, while the International Finance Corporation (IFC) invested EUR 12.5 mn. Proparco is committed through the Agence Française de Développement’s Fisea+ facility.

The fund will target high-growth SMEs in the healthcare, tech, manufacturing and services sectors, allocating EUR 5-15 mn for each investment. Rather than targeting startups, it is looking for more mature, profitable companies that are ready to take their growth to the next level, Zerhouni said. It is also looking at companies that are open to selling a majority stake of their business down the road, he added.

The story so far: Until now, the fund has only invested in a single company, announcing in March an undisclosed investment in Magriser, a Moroccan firm specialized in micro-irrigation systems. It is currently in advanced talks with several other companies, one of which is Egyptian, Khoueiry said, declining to disclose further information.

This would be the firm’s first investment in Egypt: While Amethis’ first MENA-focused fund Amethis Maghreb Fund I focused on companies in Morocco and Tunisia, AMFII is targeting new markets in Egypt and Jordan.

Amethis sees Egypt as an increasingly strategic market and is looking to open a local office thanks to its strong pipeline of opportunities, Khoueiry said, emphasizing the size of its market, its position in the region, its strong industrial base as well as Egypt being a prime recipient of private equity investment in North Africa. “The market is strategic enough that it warrants closer presence … we are actively looking to grow our presence there [Egypt].”

IN OTHER INVESTMENT NEWS-

Amazon opens logistics facility, the first-of-its-kind in Africa, outside Cairo: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly was on hand yesterday for the opening of the facility in Tenth of Ramadan City, according to a Cabinet statement. The 28k-sqm facility — the first of its kind in Africa — comes as part of Amazon’s long-term plans to expand its footprint in Egypt and increase investment in the country’s infrastructure, advanced technology and e-commerce sectors, while catering to Egypt’s internet-based SMEs, VP of Amazon Middle East and North Africa Ronaldo Mouchawar said.

The e-commerce giant is investing more than EGP 1 bn in the Egyptian market, and runs more than 15 goods delivery stations nationwide, contributing to the creation of at least 3k jobs, according to Mouchawar. Amazon had last year hinted at exploring whether Egypt could be a hub for the manufacturing of its own-brand products and for exports to the wider region, saying it would also work on attracting more local manufacturers to Amazon’s marketplace.

And Amazon.eg is launching later this year, in a move that ultimately will replace Souq as Amazon’s Egypt selling platform. The e-commerce giant had operated in Egypt through Souq since it acquired the Dubai-based online retailer in 2017. Vendors on Souq can now register on the Amazon Seller Central to begin selling on Amazon.eg as soon as the site goes live.

ALSO- The Housing and Development Bank (HDB) will contribute some EGP 12.5 mn for the construction of Elsewedy Technical Academy’s (STA) third branch in Sadat City Industrial Zone under a cooperation protocol signed between the two sides yesterday, according to a statement picked up by Hapi Journal. There are already two STA technical schools up and running in Egypt — both located in Tenth of Ramadan City — offering three-year preparatory school graduate certificates in technical education.

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