South African fund in $245m first close

The Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund will also receive an additional commitment of up to $100m from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Sandton, Johannesburg-based Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund has announced a first closing on $245 million.

In addition, it has announced a further commitment equal to 20 percent of the final fund size from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US development finance institution.

Pembani Remgro launched its fundraising in May last year with the aim of reaching a $500 million final close during 2015. This means that the OPIC commitment will be worth a maximum of $100 million.

Initial seed capital commitments came from the joint owners of the fund manager, Remgro Limited and Phuthuma Nhleko.

Remgro is a South African investment holding company listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange, which was valued at $13 billion at the end of last year. It has a diverse range of investments in areas such as food, banking and healthcare as well as infrastructure.

Phuthuma Nhleko is chairman of the Pembani Group, which has interests in cement, mining and petroleum; and also of the MTN Group, the mobile telecoms firm which has grown its operations into 21 countries from five during Nhleko’s decade at the helm.

The fund also has an anchor investment from CDC Group, the UK development finance institution (DFI), and has also received commitments from two other DFIs – OFID and Germany’s DEG – as well as private pension funds, family offices and investment companies.

The fund has made two investments to date: a minority stake in ETG, which owns and manages a vertically integrated agriculture logistics and infrastructure supply chain across several countries in sub-Saharan Africa; and GPR Leasing Africa, a rail rolling stock leasing joint venture with Grindrod Freight Services.

The fund will invest equity and quasi-equity in late-stage greenfield, brownfield and secondary opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa, including in logistics and engineering services companies operating in the infrastructure sector.

The fundraising is being advised by placement agent BerchWood Partners and law firm Webber Wentzel in alliance with Linklaters.