The Nile River. Picture: THINKSTOCK
The Nile River. Picture: THINKSTOCK

PAN African private equity firm Development Partners International (DPI) has over $400m to invest in the rest of Africa and is on the verge of closing a deal in Egypt, its first in the northern African country.

"We are about to do our first deal in Egypt… It’s in the retailing sector," Runa Alam, the co-founding partner and CEO of the London-based DPI said.

DPI is investing its African Development Partners Fund II, which raised $750m when it closed last year.

With the deal in Egypt, DPI’s African Development Partners Fund II will be approximately 40% invested, Ms Alam said.

The company counts among its investments in African Development Partners Fund II South African-based HomeChoice, a home shopping retailer, SA’s parcel distribution company RTT and the Morocco-based Université Privée de Marrakech.

Ms Alam said DPI was unlikely to do another big deal in SA as it had limits on how much it could invest in a particular country. However, she said there was room to do a small deal in SA.

Ms Alam said the limit was 20% of the fund size.

She said it had the appetite to invest between $20m to $100m, but its "sweet-spot" deals were between $40m to $60m.

The private equity firm targets industries benefiting from the growth of an emerging middle class across Africa, large profitable or cash flow-positive African companies with strong projected growth rates and experienced management and other strategic opportunities with significant upside.

"We are growth investors. We are looking for high growth industries" Ms Alam said.

"We are looking to buy dental and medical schools in Francophone and Lusophone countries."

DPI has started selling some of its assets in African Development Partners Fund I. These include Libstar, SA’s manufacturer and distributor of fast-moving consumer goods, and Nigerian insurer Mansard. The companies that remain in the first find include Botswana’s financial services company Letshego and Cal Bank in Ghana.

Ms Alam is in SA as part of a delegation that is setting up a women-led private equity investor network known as PE WIN.

PE WIN was founded eight years ago to give senior women in private equity an opportunity to network and do deals with other women.

According to PE WIN, women make up only 24% of the personnel in the private equity industry in Africa.

Kelly Williams, the president of Chicago headquartered GCM Grosvenor Private Markets, said PE WIN was starting a chapter in SA this week and about 30 women from SA were attending the launch.

Joanne Yoo of Nigerian private equity company CBO said SA had the largest concentration of women of private equity investors in Africa.

Mary Bomela, CEO of the Mineworkers Investment Company, Anne Keppler, the vice president of equity and mezzanine Africa at DEG, and Prasheen Singh, head of RisCura Consulting, were among the people attending the PE WIN discussions in Johannesburg.