Capital Markets

French PE firm opens local office with eye on SMEs

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Guests during the release of an SMEs outlook report last year. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

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Summary

  • I&P, which manages four funds with an aggregate volume of $142 million (Sh15.3 billion), said the local office will seek to support local SMEs but also provide it with a gateway to expanding into the region.
  • The sub-Saharan Africa focused impact investor has hired ex-Prime Bank and Fanisi Capital executive Asif Noorani to head the local office.

French private equity fund Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) has opened a Nairobi office with an eye on making investments in small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in East Africa.

I&P, which manages four funds with an aggregate volume of $142 million (Sh15.3 billion), said the local office will seek to support local SMEs but also provide it with a gateway to expanding into the region.

“I&P is aiming at closing the SME finance gap,” said the firm’s chief investment officer Jérémy Hajdenberg, who is responsible for the East African region.

"Expanding our geographical footprint allows us to diversify political and economic risks."

The sub-Saharan Africa focused impact investor has hired ex-Prime Bank and Fanisi Capital executive Asif Noorani to head the local office.

“The entrepreneurial ecosystem is very dynamic in the region, and yet it appears that only a few investment funds are keen to invest amounts within IPAE 2’s target range, most favouring larger deals,” said Mr Noorani.

I&P has already invested in Afribon, a Kenyan food flavours business, African Management Institute, a Kenyan management training company, and Finance Trust Bank, a Ugandan lender for micro entrepreneurs and small companies.

Since 2002, the fund has disbursed amounts ranging from Sh127 million to Sh636.6 million— which is its investment band— to over 90 SMEs in 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

I&P aims to invest equity and quasi-equity in start-ups and small businesses in West and Central Africa as well as in East Africa and Madagascar as a minority shareholder.

With headquarters in France, I&P has sponsored five African impact funds, which have together invested in more than 90 companies located in 16 African countries.

I&P was created in 2002 by Patrice Hoppenot and managed since 2011 by Jean-Michel Severino.

The fund employs 50 people working in Paris and seven African offices.