UK private equity investing in African renewable energy

Actis, a UK-based private equity group, alongside partners Mainstream and Lekela Power, are setting up a $1.9bn renewable energy business that will capture and distribute energy across the African continent.

The news of this investment comes at a particularly pertinent time; the continent’s most advanced economy, South Africa, is currently facing major blackouts as it seeks to carry out vital maintenance work to its ageing grid system. An estimate from the country’s leading energy expert Chris Yelland suggests that the blackouts could cost the country’s economy up to 80 billion rand (just under £4.5bn) per month.

Globeleq, owned by Actis, has plants in Tanzania, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa. Through their new company, Lekela Power, the consortium is aiming to deliver up to 900mW over the next three years, using a variety of different energy generating means. Actis has previously worked with Mainstream in Chile.  

By the end of 2013, Actis had raised $1.3bn as part of its ‘Energy 3’ fund for renewables initiatives, overshooting its original $750m target by 50 per cent. The investments came from a combination of family and sovereign wealth funds. The company plans to withdraw from its investment after five years.

Lekela Power plans […]

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