ECP invests $30m in West African utility

The pan-African specialist will take board seats on Finagestion, a water and power supplier for Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.

Africa-focused private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners has invested $30 million in West African utility holding company Finagestion.

Through its subsidiaries, Finagestion owns significant water and power interests in both Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, providing drinking water to 13 million Africans and power to 10 million, according to a statement from ECP.

The multinational holding company’s operations in Côte d’Ivoire include the Société de Distribution d’Eau de Côte d’Ivoire, a water production and distribution company; Compagnie Ivorienne d’Electricité, a power transmission and distribution company; and Compagnie Ivorienne de Production d’Electricité, a power generation company.

In Senegal, Finagestion owns a controlling interest in water production and distribution company Sénégalaise des Eaux. Finagestion is a wholly owned vehicle of French telecom and construction conglomerate, the Bouygues Group.

ECP’s investment provides the Washington DC-based firm with significant corporate governance rights including board representation. ECP made the investment from its $523 million ECP Africa Fund II.

The firm is currently raising a $1 billion pan-African vehicle, according to a source familiar with the fund.

ECP’s previous investments in the African utilities sector include a $40 million investment in Veolia Water Maroc, a electricity and water provider in Morocco.

Buoyed by the rapid economic development of mineral-rich Nigeria, West Africa has witnessed an increase in interest from private equity firms over the last year as both private and public entities continue to solicit much-needed foreign capital.

Earlier this year, the Liberian Electricity Corporation disclosed that it was seeking roughly $200 million in private investment to repair a primary hydroelectric facility, part of a broader public program to funnel money into the nation’s decrepit energy infrastructure.