AIIM Invests in BBOXX Clean Energy Off-grid Solar Systems | AVCA

16 Jan 2019

The acquisition marks the infrastructure specialist’s expansion into the African off-grid solar market

Cape Town and London: African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), one of Africa’s largest and most experienced infrastructure-focused private equity fund managers and a member of Old Mutual Alternative Investments (OMAI), has acquired through its African Infrastructure Investment Fund 3 (AIIF3) a minority stake in BBOXX’s operations in East Africa, as part of a US$31 million investment plan. BBOXX is a leading next-generation utility platform developing solutions to provide affordable, clean energy to off-grid communities in emerging markets.

Growth equity provided by AIIM will accelerate the roll-out of BBOXX’s solar systems, which combine solar panels and batteries with pioneering technology, payable on a pay-as-you-go basis utilizing mobile money, across Rwanda, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The funds will be applied across BBOXX’s distribution mix, positively impacting a range of customers including households, schools, SMEs, and businesses across rural, urban and peri-urban regions. It will help in enabling economic growth in these communities by creating new markets through the entry point of electricity.

Commenting on the announcement, Ashwin West, Investment Director at AIIM said: “With over 590 million people lacking access to electricity in Africa, coupled with increasing household incomes and a need for power, off-grid solar offers a compelling alternative for rural communities and areas with unreliable grid access. BBOXX’s business model ensures that upfront prices for consumers remain affordable by reducing existing energy costs and spreading the cost of a solar home system over time. We look forward to working alongside the management team as it continues to build on BBOXX’s successes, improving access to power in Africa."

Commenting further, Mansoor Hamayun CEO and co-founder of BBOXX said: “Since our founding in 2010, more than 150,000 BBOXX products have been sold in more than 35 countries. This has connected over 800,000 people with clean, affordable electricity for the first time. AIIM has an impressive track record in the African power sector, supporting companies to reach the next stage of growth and evolution. We are delighted to welcome AIIM as an investor. The deal will allow us to continue to drive disaggregation in what has traditionally been a vertically integrated market and we look forward to partnering together to reach more people across Africa, providing much needed access to electricity.”

AIIF3 is AIIM’s third pan-African fund, focused primarily on power, transportation, and energy infrastructure across sub-Saharan Africa. Including BBOXX, AIIM has made nine investments on behalf of the AIIF3 fund. Other investments are Starsight Power Utility Ltd, a leading energy services company in Nigeria; AIIM Hydroneo, a pan-African hydropower development platform; DSM Corridor Group, a specialist dry bulk terminal operator in Tanzania; Albatros Energy Mali, a 90 megawatt (MW) thermal power station and Amandi Energy Limited, a 200MW thermal power station in Ghana.

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