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Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Egypt in the spotlight as DPI hits final close on Africa’s largest-ever PE fund

Africa-focused private equity firm Development Partners International (DPI) is on track for a USD 900 mn final close to its third fund. Its African Development Partners III (ADP III) has an additional USD 250 mn worth of dedicated co-investment capital, the firm said in a statement, giving it a total of USD 1.15 bn for investment on the continent. That would, by our math, make it the largest PE fund ever raised for deployment in Africa. DPI’s third fund has already invested in MNT-Halan’s record-breaking USD 120 mn funding round.

DPI’s existing Egypt investments and track record were among the keys to the successful fundraising, which saw DPI exceed its original target by USD 100 mn and add more than 25 new limited partners to its investor base, a senior DPI exec told us. The firm’s LPs include pension and sovereign wealth funds, development finance institutions, ins. companies, asset managers and impact investors, DPI said.

Egypt is critical for DPI. “Egypt was a key investment destination” for the firm’s second fund, Principal Ziad Abaza told us. Egypt had the largest country allocation in the firm’s ADP II as DPI deployed more than USD 180 mn here in three investments that Abaza said “have performed very well for us.” They include consumer electronics retailer, pipes and fittings manufacturer EGIC (a prominent exporter) and fintech platform MNT-Halan. “Egypt has performed well over the last five years and we expect to see this trend continue,” he said.

“Egypt will remain a key country as we deploy capital from our third fund,” Abaza added, saying two out of the four investments ADP III has already made have been here. The firm’s pharma platform, established in partnership with CDC and EBRD, has acquired Adwia and DPI invested a second time in MNT-Halan. “That takes our total investments in Egypt now to more than USD 350 mn along with our co-investors,” Abaza said.

What does DPI like in Egypt going forward? “We like to see companies that address gaps in the market and benefit from the compelling demographics and emerging Egyptian middle class. To give a few examples, we continue to be very interested in healthcare, education, manufacturing, agriculture, retail and FMCG. We’re also interested in companies that are keeping up with the rapid digitalisation in the post pandemic world and find new ways to connect with consumers,” Abaza explained.

DPI’s fundraising is good news for an African private equity industry that has faced headwinds in recent years. Africa-focused PE firms had a flat first half this year and raised just USD 1.2 bn in 2020, more than 70% less than the USD 3.9 bn raised in 2019, the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association told the Financial Times. Helios, for example, agreed to a merger with a Fairfax vehicle (pdf) in a transaction that closed last year after Helios fell short of a USD 1.25 bn fundraising target.

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