African fund in debut deal

Africa-focused private equity firm Development Partners International has backed South Africa-based telecom company Q-Venture. The firm has raised €272m toward its debut fund, which it aims to close on €400m in 2009.

Development Partners International (DPI) has made an investment of undisclosed size in Q-Venture, a company that provides telecom and infrastructure services to telecom operators and government organisations in 13 African and Middle Eastern countries. The investment will be used to grow the company into a pan-African operation, particularly targeting expansion into Nigeria.

It is the first investment made from the firm’s debut fund, African Development Partners, which held a first close on €232 million in March last year and currently has €272 million toward its €400 million target. It hopes to hold a final close later in 2009

Q-Venture is a representative deal in that the firm’s strategy to target established businesses which appeal to the growing African middle classes, such as telecommunications and financial services, Eduardo Gutierrez, a partner at DPI, said in an interview.

The fund started its marketing period soon after DPI was established in September 2007 by Miles Morland, formerly of Blakeney Management, and Runa Alam, former chief executive officer of Kingdom Zephyr.