CDC Group commits US$100mn into Helios Investors IV

07 Jul 2020

  • Establishes stronger partnership with premier African private equity manager and presents an opportunity to collaborate on co-investment opportunities
  • Supports efforts to mobilise capital to African businesses and continued investment in companies across the continent
  • Boosts sustainable employment and economic growth crucial to COVID-19 recovery

CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution and leading impact investor, has committed US$100 million to Helios Investors IV, the fourth private equity fund raised by Helios Investment Partners, a leading Africa-focused private equity firm.

The pan-African generalist fund will invest in and build market-leading companies across the continent. With a well-established local presence in Lagos and Nairobi, offices in Europe and strong networks across the continent, Helios has grown significantly since its establishment in 2004 and has invested in businesses that operate in over 30 African countries.

Helios has one of the strongest track records in African private equity across its three predecessor funds, having invested over US$3 billion and created over 9,000 new jobs in diverse sectors ranging from financial services to education and telecommunications since 2008. CDC’s investment will be instrumental in accelerating job creation, facilitating sustainable employment, and the commitment will support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by boosting economic growth across the continent.

CDC is aligned with Helios on its current good practice on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) management and supports the firm in continuing to lead in this respect, which is expected to have a demonstration effect on the wider market. Helios has committed to aligning with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework.

As notably the largest emerging markets-focused private equity firm globally to receive B Corp certification, Helios’s performance demonstrates its strong commitment to good governance and responsible business practices. The firm has a strong track record in African private equity across its three predecessor funds and has a proven ability to grow African businesses, for example transforming Interswitch from a transaction switching company owned by Nigerian banks into one of the leading fintech companies in Africa, attracting TA Associates and Visa as shareholders.

This countercyclical commitment from CDC – the first since its last investment in a Helios fund in 2009 – signals confidence in the firm and has the potential to catalyse further capital into the fund.

Clarisa De Franco, Managing Director, Head of Africa Funds, Funds and Capital Partnerships, CDC Group, commented: “We are pleased to once again partner with Helios by backing the firm’s fourth fund. Our investment will allow growing African companies to access much-needed finance to support their development and expansion at a particularly challenging time in the markets. CDC takes its DFI role seriously in ensuring trade and investing in African companies continues smoothly to enable a swift post-COVID-19 recovery. I’m confident our investment in Helios will help catalyse additional commitments from institutional investors, thereby allow the firm to invest in promising companies, create lasting jobs, and accelerate progress towards the SDGs across the region.”

CDC’s expertise makes it the perfect partner for private investors looking to devote capital to making a measurable environmental and social impact in countries most in need of investment. In addition, CDC’s investment in Helios Investors IV contributes to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 8 for decent work, job creation, and economic growth.

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