JOHANNESBURG Dec 18 Asset manager Duet Group
plans to make about $100 million of private equity investments
in Ghana next year, taking a big bet on the fast-growing west
London-based Duet's Africa private equity arm is in talks
about buying into around four Ghanaian companies, said Ayo
Salami, chief investment officer of the Duet Africa
Opportunities Fund which invests in companies listed on
sub-Saharan African stock exchanges.
Private equity investors are increasingly targeting Africa,
one of the world's fastest-growing regions, whose expanding
middle class represents around a third of the continent's
Ghana's oil-driven economic boom and its reputation as one
of Africa's most stable democracies, reinforced by a relatively
smooth presidential election earlier this month, have made it a
target for foreign investors.
Economic growth of 14.5 percent last year made it one of the
world's best performers. The International Monetary Fund expects
growth of 8.2 percent this year and forecasts 7.8 percent for
For Duet, which has more than $2.7 billion under management,
the private equity investments will be its first in Ghana and
are a big bet on what is still a relatively small market.
"We're making a very big push on the private equity side...
Our plan over the next one year is for Duet to invest close to
$100 million in businesses in Ghana, focused primarily on
consumer sectors," he said.
"We're looking at food processing companies, companies in
the retail space and in the property sector."
Ghana's illiquid capital markets make it difficult to invest
in publicly quoted companies. Just 34 companies are listed on
the Ghana Stock Exchange, with no new listings this year.
Even among sub-Saharan Africa's relatively illiquid stock
markets, Ghana's is particularly inactive. The average weekly
value of shares traded is $1.3 million, compared with $80
million in Nigeria.
While private equity firms have traditionally focused on
South Africa, their interest in the continent's frontier markets
In January, Duet and other investors acquired a controlling
interest in Dashen Brewery, Ethiopia's largest independent
brewer, for $90 million, the east African country's largest
private equity investment so far.
U.S. 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
(Editing by Erica Billingham)