OPIC seeks proposals from ‘development-minded’ funds

Through a competitive process ending June 8, the US agency will select funds targeting business development, restructuring or privatisation projects in the more than 150 countries in which it can operate.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will be launching its 2015 Global Engagement Call for Proposals on May 11, inviting private equity funds to compete for OPIC financing for projects in developing countries, the Washington DC-based agency said in a statement.

“Through a competitive process open for submissions from May 11 to June 8, OPIC will select funds targeting projects in OPIC-eligible countries for new business development, existing company expansion, restructuring, and/or privatisation,” OPIC said referring to the more than 150 developing and post-conflict countries in which it is authorised to do business.

In addition to having a total capitalization of more than $100 million, the privately-owned and managed funds must invest in projects that have “a positive development impact” in order to qualify. Fund managers must also outline their target sectors and countries as well as provide information about their investment experience in the proposals they submit.

“Private equity funds are essential tools for economic development in emerging markets,” OPIC’s president and chief executive Elizabeth Littlefield said. “They are an effective means for high-potential entrepreneurs to raise equity capital, to drive faster growth, and create more jobs and higher quality businesses.”

Established in 1971, OPIC works with the US private sector “to help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, advances US foreign policy.” The agency provides investors with financing, guaranties, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds.

To date, OPIC has supported more than $200 billion of investment in over 4,000 projects, generated an estimated $76 billion in US exports and supported more than 278,000 American jobs, according to its website.

Recent examples include senior debt financing totaling $186 million for both construction phases of the 148.5-megawatt (MW) Tres Mesas Wind Project in Tamaulipas, Mexico; and $50 million in direct financing for the Azura-Edo project, a 459MW power plant in Nigeria backed by ACEI, an affiliate of private equity firm American Capital.