African fund raises $345m for power


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Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund, founded by two of South Africa’s richest men, has raised $345-million to invest in electricity generation, transport and logistics in Africa.

The Johannesburg-based fund was established in 2012 by Johann Rupert, who has a net worth of $8.2 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and Phuthuma Nhleko, who is the chairman of mobile phone company MTN Group Ltd.

The fund raised $245 million and can access a further $100 million from the US government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Chief Executive Officer Herc van Wyk said by phone on Monday. The fund plans to raise as much as $500 million for developing infrastructure on the continent, he said.

“We see interesting opportunities coming up in the infrastructure space,” van Wyk said. “The opportunity, first and foremost, is power generation.”

African countries, including the two biggest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, are beset by power shortages that limit economic growth, boost the cost of doing business and disrupt production.

Rupert is the chairman of investment company Remgro Ltd and controls the world’s second-largest jewellery maker Richemont. Nhleko, who founded investment company Pembani Group, led Africa’s biggest mobile phone company MTN through its fastest rate of customer growth as chief executive officer, and is now chairman.

The fund has partnered with Grindrod Freight Service to form GPR Leasing South Africa, which will lease rail rolling stock in Africa, and has invested in ETG, an agribusiness logistics company, it says on its website.