Africa private equity deals grow to $1.2 bln in 2012-report

JOHANNESBURG Tue Feb 5, 2013 1:39pm EST

JOHANNESBURG Feb 5 (Reuters) - Private equity funds completed $1.16 billion worth of deals in sub-Saharan Africa in 2012, a near 10 percent increase from the previous year, a survey showed on Tuesday.

Funds raised for the region also grew to $1.4 billion last year, from $1.3 billion the previous year, but still far below a 2008 peak, according to data from the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association.

Private equity investors are increasingly targeting sub-Saharan Africa, drawn by some of the fastest economic growth rates in the world and an expanding middle class.

The region is projected to grow around 5 percent in 2013, according to the IMF.

U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group completed its first African deal in November, paying $210 million for a stake in Tanzania-based agribusiness Export Trading Group along with two other investors.

Last month, South Africa's Ethos Private Equity said it had raised $800 million for a new fund, one of the largest amounts secured by an Africa-focused fund.

This was rivalled only by Helios Investment Partners which raised a $900 million fund in 2011 after attracting more than $1 billion in orders.

Private equity funds completed 61 deals in sub-Saharan Africa in 2012, EMPEA said, the highest since 2008 when there were 50 deals.

Although the total capital invested in the region increased last year, it was less than half that of 2007, when private equity funds completed $3.4 billion of deals.

Fundraising in 2012 was also far short of the record $2.2 billion raised in 2008.

The amount of private equity capital invested in sub-Saharan Africa was comparable to Russia's share ($1.24 billion) but less than a quarter of the $5 billion invested in Latin America.

EMPEA said emerging market private equity funds received 20 percent of global private equity commitments last year, the largest share to date.

Some 161 emerging market funds raised a total of $40.3 billion in 2012, up from 148 funds that raised $38.5 billion in 2011.

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