Exclusive: Meridiam nears €300m final close on Africa fund

With about eight investors set to back the vehicle, the French firm is aiming to conclude its investment in a 30MW Senegalese power project by December.

Paris-based asset manager Meridiam Infrastructure (Meridiam) is in the final stages of raising Meridiam Infrastructure Africa Fund, its debut Africa-focused vehicle.

The fund is set to be closed on or near its €300 million target within the next couple of months, sources told Infrastructure Investor. Meridiam has now collected about €150 million for the vehicle, for which a first close was held earlier this year.

Eight limited partners are said to have committed to the offering. Institutional investors account for the lion’s share of them, sources said, with development finance institutions only representing a minority. Known investors in the fund include the European Investment Bank, French Development Agency subsidiary Proparco and the French arm of Allianz, the German insurer.

Meridiam declined to comment on fundraising matters.

Officially launched in September 2014, the firm’s Africa fund has a tenure of 15 years and an investment remit covering the whole of Africa, with a priority list of 15 countries. It primarily aims for small to mid-sized deals, deemed quicker and easier to finance, in sectors including energy and transport. Half of its investments are expected to be made in the former, with the balance targeting the latter as well as social infrastructure.

Its maiden deal will see it back a Senegalese solar farm with an initial capacity of 30 megawatts, according to sources, who added that the transaction would likely close by December this year. Also well advanced in the fund’s pipeline are investments in Madagascar airports as well as in Ivory Coast’s San Pedro University, two projects respectively budgeted at just over €100 million.

Successful investments from its Africa fund would mark yet another geographical expansion for Meridiam after its recent forays in the Turkish market, in which the French manager spearheaded private efforts to plug infrastructure gaps by helping fund some of the world’s most ambitious healthcare projects.

The firm, which is planning to back up to four new hospitals in the country before the end of next year, is also considering potential investments in Turkey’s education and water sectors in the longer term.


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