BusinessExecutivesNew fund to focus on partnerships

Sun,19Nov2017

Posted on Thursday, 05 December 2013 14:42

New fund to focus on partnerships

By Gemma Ware

Emile du Toit - Head of infrastructure investments, Harith General Partners. Photo©HArITH GeNerAl PArTNerSHarith plans to close a new fund with up to $700m before the end of the year to make investments in public-private infrastructure projects.

Emile du Toit should know what institutional investors want. 

The head of infrastructure investments at Harith General Partners, a Johannesburg-based private equity fund, he joined the firm in 2011 from the Development Bank of Southern Africa, where he was head of corporate finance and also headed up its private equity portfolio.

He will now have to turn that knowledge into commitments.

Already managing the first Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF 1), a landmark fund set up in 2007 to attract African capital into infrastructure projects, Du Toit and his team are deep into fundraising for a second fund.

PAIDF 2 is due to make its first close in October or November at around $600-700m – all with commitments from African investors.

Then Harith plans to start fundraising outside of Africa for the first time, pitching it to investors in the United States, Europe and Middle East to take the fund up to $1bn.

But while PAIDF 1 won backing from commercial banks including Absa and Standard Bank, Du Toit "doubt[s] that they'll come back in".

He points to new Basel III regulations which mean banks are closing down their equity books. "Over time, pension funds will have to step into that gap left by the banks," he says.

Du Toit has invested 80% of PAIDF 1, which has a 15-year investment time frame. He says there is one outstanding commitment to come in a 300MW wind farm at Kenya's Lake Turkana, in which Harith will probably invest $50m.

Some of the fund's investments have been in commercial ventures – such as the redevelopment of Lanseria Airport and the South African fibre network Dark Fibre Africa.

Du Toit says the new fund will focus more on public-private partnerships. "At least 80% plus of our pipeline is in the power and transport side," he says.

Harith is also part of the new Power Africa initiative announced by US President Barack Obama, principally through its London-based subsidiary Aldwych International, of which Du Toit is a director.

The exact details of Power Africa remain woolly, but Du Toit says Harith is looking to leverage a close relationship with Kupanda Capital, a Washington-based fund run by Bobby Pittman, former infrastructure vice-president at the African Development Bank. ●



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