AXA takes stake in West African utility

The French insurance giant has bought a near-19% interest in Eranove from developer Bouygues.

AXA, the French insurance and asset management firm, has paid an undisclosed sum for an 18.6 percent stake in Eranove, a West African utility with operations in power generation, transmission and distribution as well as water production and distribution.

AXA has acquired the interest from Bouygues, the French developer.

With most of its operations in the Ivory Coast and Senegal, Eranove operates a number of concession companies including CIE, SODECI, SDE and independent power producer CIPREL.

Pan-African private equity firm ECP Capital Partners is the majority shareholder in Eranove, which generated revenues of €430 million in 2014 through the sale of electricity to over 1.3 million clients and water to 1.4 million clients.

The company believes it can capture development opportunities in existing and new territories by building a pan-African energy platform.

The opportunity is to address Africa’s production shortfall given its increasing population, higher urbanisation and strong GDP growth rates. At present, more than 300 million people in the region use unimproved drinking water sources and more than 600 million have no access to electricity.

AXA said its investment “confirms the group’s decision to increase its infrastructure investments through AXA Investment Managers”.

“Eranove is already a successful and well-established business, with strong management and a large customer base,” said Laurent Clamagirand, chief investment officer of AXA, in a statement. “Our long term investment and commitment to Africa will support the growth of Eranove as well as positively impact the countries it serves.”