Actis completes two Africa deals

The emerging market fund manager has made an investment in Cameroon and concluded an exit in Uganda.

Actis, the London-headquartered emerging markets specialist, has paid $202 million (net of adjustments) to US energy company AES for a 56 percent stake in Cameroon’s national utility, Societe Nationale d’Electricite (SONEL), plus two independent power plants, Kribi and Dibamba.

SONEL provides 933 megawatts (MW) of generation and supplies electricity to more than 800,000 customer connections throughout the country while the Kribi and Dibamba plants contribute a combined 302MW towards Cameroon’s generation capacity.

Actis will own SONEL while Globeleq, a private power company wholly owned by Actis, will directly own and operate Kribi and Dibamba.

“Cameroon is a country with great potential and our considerable experience in the energy space, combined with our expertise in Africa, makes us confident that we can deliver strong infrastructure and excellent customer service,” said Torbjorn Caesar, Actis’ co-head of energy, in a statement.

Meanwhile, Actis has concluded a two-part stake sale in Umeme, the Ugandan electricity distribution company. The second step is a 6.7 percent sale for $13 million to Ugandan retail investors and Umeme management and directors.

This followed a first, institutional tranche in which 39 percent of the company was sold for $85 million in May this year. Following the two-part sale, Actis subsidiary UHL remains the second-largest shareholder in Umeme with 14.3 percent.

Investec Asset Management is now the largest shareholder in the firm, with 18 percent, while the Ugandan National Social Security Fund is the third-largest with 14 percent.

David Grylls, an Actis partner, said the sale was “not only…indicative of a healthy appetite for solid Ugandan companies, but also a commitment to Uganda’s powerful macroeconomic story. This can only be good for Uganda’s capital markets.”