Kenyan private equity house Ascent raises $50 mln - CNBC Africa

Kenyan private equity house Ascent raises $50 mln

Financial

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

The Ascent Rift Valley Fund has become the first equity fund to raise capital from local pension coffers in Kenya. PHOTO: Getty Images

About 70 per cent of the 50 million US dollars raised were committed by commercial investors including local institutions like Kenya power, a national utility that supplies electric power and energy services, through their pension fund which has 6,000 workers has invested four million US dollars and private international investors.

“This is the first time in the region that local pension funds have committed to invest in a private equity fund. We are honored to be the first private equity fund to have won the trust of the local pension funds,” David Owino, partner at Ascent Capital Advisory Services’ told CNBC Africa.

Intending to raise 70 million dollars for its debut bond, Ascent Capital, a private equity player plans to invest in fast-growing small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) in East Africa.

“We are not sector specific. We are looking at investing in all sectors. We are key on consumer driven opportunities and companies that will grow with the growth of the local economy,” Owino said.

The firm will invest in 8 to 12 companies in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda by identifying and following up the companies through a strong local presence.

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Ascend will invest between 1 million US dollars and 10 million US dollars in each business.

“We are also looking at investing in other Eastern Africa countries like South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania but primarily the focus are on those three [Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania],” said Owino.

Apart from the local institutional investors, the fund has also attracted significant capital from international investors. Owino has attributed the international investors to the country’s debut of the issuance of the successful Eurobond “this is another sign that the country’s financial sector has come of age,” Owino said

Kenya’s maiden issuance of a Sovereign Bond was oversubscribed by 440 per cent.

The total Kenyan institutional capital contribution to the ARVF is currently at 10 per cent of total commitments and stands at 5 million US dollars.

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