Former Africa Heads At Carlyle And KKR Plan New Investment Firm

Written by Staff

From Reuters. Story by Dasha Afanasieva.

The former regional heads for Africa at private equity giants KKR and Carlyle are setting up an investment firm, Arkana Partners, to target local equity investments of up to $100 million.

Kayode Akinola told Reuters on Wednesday that he was leaving KKR to join forces with Marlon Chigwende, who left his role as Africa chief at rival Carlyle in 2016, as private equity opportunities in Africa are often seen as too small for the buyout industry’s titans.

“We will be focused on the mid-cap, where we believe the bulk of opportunities are,” Akinola said, adding that while the emphasis will be on private equity investments the new firm will be flexible in its approach.

“You need to bring your entire tool bag to the market. (In Africa) you can’t just say you’re only going to do buy-outs or just greenfield,” he said, referring to developing projects, often in infrastructure, from scratch.

The new firm will look for ventures which are ready to absorb up to $100 million but will mostly focus on opportunities requiring between $20 and $60 million of equity, Akinola said, highlighting that what counts as “mid-cap” can vary widely in different African economies.

It remained unclear when fundraising for the new venture would take place or how much the firm aimed to raise.

KKR, a global investment firm with more than $131 billion in assets under management, invests in Africa with its European private equity fund and targets at least $125 million in equity but more typically between $200 and $250 million, according to sources close to the firm.

Akinola joined KKR in 2013 amid growing hopes for the region to lead and develop the firm’s African efforts from Africa-focused Helios Investment Partners. Since then KKR has managed one investment in Africa, putting $200 million into Afriflora, a flower company in Ethiopia. Akinola remains on its board.

KKR will continue to examine deals in the region on a selective basis, the sources said.

Akinola, a Nigerian, and Chigwende who is originally from Zimbabwe, are setting up their firm as Sub-Saharan Africa’s two biggest economies face significant political and economic headwinds.

Read more at Reuters.



Image Attribution: Marlon Chigwende, former head of sub-Saharan Africa buyout advisory team at Carlyle Group. Photo: PE Africa/Financial Nigeria.