Actis, AIG Africa invest in Nigerian telecoms

The two emerging markets fund investors have paid $43m for a majority stake in a Nigerian fixed wireless operator.

Emerging markets investors Actis and the AIG African Infrastructure Fund (AAIF) have teamed up to invest N5.7 billion ($43.2 million; €33.2 million) to acquire a majority stake in Starcomms, a leading fixed wireless operator in Nigeria.

Starcomms provides pre-paid voice and data services to over 145,000 subscribers including retail and corporate users. The company currently operates in Lagos, Kano and Borno.

Washington DC-headquartered Emerging Markets Partnership (EMP) manages the $407.6 million AIG African Infrastructure Fund. Thomas Gibian, COO of the fund, said in a statement: “We expect Starcomms’ strong value proposition, its experienced management team and the new investor support to translate into a significant customer base that will broaden the Nigerian telecoms market.”

Actis, which was formed in January 2004 when it span out of CDC Capital Partners, the UK state-owned risk capital investor, has approximately $1.1 billion of capital under management in Africa.

The firm has made previous investments in African telecoms operators Celtel and Orascom. London-based partner Murray Grant commented on the firm’s strategy in the African telecoms market: “We will be able to apply the sector expertise we have developed through our investments in telecoms companies in Africa…our on-the-ground presence ensures that we have a real understanding of the market.”

Last year Actis was selected to co-manage the C$200 million (€122 million; $145 million) Canada Investment Fund for Africa (CIFA).