The talk of distressed asset investing in Africa is growing. A total of $6.5 billion has been raised for African private equity from 2011 to 2016, according to the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA), with a total reported deal value over the same period of $22.7 billion for 900+ deals. In 2016 alone, 145 deals were reported totalling $3.8 billion. We explore the sectors offering the best opportunities for distressed asset investors.
Mining: Latest News
Kurt Davis Jr., 12:01 am AFKI Original
African bond investors are laying the rules for 2017 after a tumultuous 2015 and 2016. Senegal’s $1.1 billion Eurobond launch earlier this month establishes the parameters. The offering – more than eight times oversubscribed – demonstrates investors will reward African countries for growth and political stability. But what many African sovereign bond issuers will have to consider is how big yields could become. In some corners of the continent, bankers may start to ask if there will be a penalty for those holding significant undisclosed debts.
Kurt Davis Jr., 5:03 pm AFKI Original
The story line in 2017 is buy undervalued assets, especially those with massive upside — no surprise. The surprise, however, may be looking for that opportunity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kabila is still in power despite his term of office ending. Mineral prices have been low and hurt local mining companies. Budget cuts are a big topic in local politics. The DRC, like one or two other countries on this list, is worrisome on the surface. But there are opportunities in the government’s desire to strengthen private-sector investment.
Reuters, 9:41 pm
Israel’s Sapir Capital had expressed interest in buying a stake worth more than $100 million in Zambia’s state mining investment arm. Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings has diversified interests in mining, energy and other sectors of the southern African nation’s economy. The state-owned Industrial Development Corporation, an investment company wholly owned by the government, is the majority shareholder. Sapir, which holds a minority stake in foreign mining firms in Zambia, has more than 4,000 shareholders. Its market cap is over $657 million.
Peter Pedroncelli, 5:29 am
The Democratic Republic of Congo hopes to import 200 megawatts of power from South Africa, which would enable Africa’s largest copper-producing nation to boost copper production in 2017 by as much as 20 percent. South African state-owned utility Eskom has made 1000 megawatts available for export over the next decade. Trust issues between mining companies and the Congolese state-owned power company threaten to derail the deal. Previous promises to deliver energy supply have failed.
Kurt Davis Jr., 2:00 am AFKI Original
Short-term volatility and uncertainty in the African growth story create opportunities for hedge funds. Hedge funds generally operate more flexibly than private equity, and they have the creativity to generate bond-like returns that outpace inflation. Critics say hedge funds have limited liquidity in an opaque world. The riskiest play — but with big returns — is in agriculture and land. Where land is for sale in Africa, investors are making a play for a limited resource, especially when it’s arable, ripe for production or ideal for commercial and residential construction.
Staff, 6:40 pm
South African President Jacob Zuma has emptied his cabinet of his critics. Now that he has collaborators in all key cabinet spots, we know the country’s path if he stays in power. South Africa will move ahead with a deal for a large number of Russian nuclear plants. Property rights for farmers and mines will be further diminished so that Zuma allies can participate in once-thriving South African industries now in decline because of a lack of business confidence. Foreign investors will look elsewhere, and South Africans will move their money out.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:13 am AFKI Original
The Anglos have an apparently insatiable investment appetite for the region. Gabon will no longer fly under the radar after Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle Group — the world’s largest private equity fund — purchased Royal Dutch Shell’s onshore assets in Gabon for $587 million. Petroleum services, infrastructure and timber are rising on the radar for crafty investors in Gabon. Financial services and ICT too. Gabon is a stable provider of services and networks to neighboring countries. Here are six other Francophone African countries investors are looking at.
Dana Sanchez, 5:17 pm
Each security is equivalent to 100th of an ounce of gold and is backed by physical gold. The Nairobi all-share index hit a 47-month low March 8, driven down by bank stocks and a Safaricom selloff. Having local currency exposure to the spot price of gold is attractive to local pension funds and others restricted in overseas investment. “It makes sense to be adding complexity to the stock exchange… Barclays is ‘pushing at an open door by launching a gold-based ETF,” an investment advisor said. “There’s clearly demand for gold here because people see it as a store of value.”
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:24 am AFKI Original
Mauritania requires no royalty payments, which is not the norm. This is a benefit for oil, gas and mining explorers anxious about paying royalties when commodity prices are unpredictable. Mauritania’s corporate income tax rate is relatively low at 25% — a plus in a region where the tax and fiscal systems can change any investor’s outlook on risk and reward. Large government irrigation projects have aided agricultural production in the desert. Israeli technology and cropping strategies have had some success in other parts of Africa. There is potential here, but it requires investment in technology — not always a priority in agriculture.
Dana Sanchez, 11:34 am
South Africa ranks fourth in world for titanium reserves. This should give the country a competitive edge in the 3D printing market for aerospace. It’s a market expected to be worth tens of billions of dollars as aerospace, auto and military industries seek cheaper way to make parts. Aircraft makers want to replace aluminum bodies with lighter materials such as titanium alloys. South Africa says its 3D printer is 10 times faster than any other laser melting machine available.The new manufacturing process could save millions of dollars on production and fuel costs.
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