Standard Chartered takes $57 mln stake in Copperbelt Energy

(Reuters) – Standard Chartered’s private equity arm has acquired a quarter of Zambia’s Copperbelt Energy Corporation Plc for $57 million, its first investment in the growing African power industry.

The bank will take 25.8 percent of the Lusaka-listed power supplier by acquiring a stake in parent company Zambian Energy Corporation, Standard Chartered and Copperbelt said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Copperbelt, which supplies power to mines in Africa’s largest copper producer, has recently acquired stakes in a power company and power plant in Nigeria.

A lack of power is a serious hurdle for many sub-Saharan economies, even as they benefit from rising incomes and investment from China.

London-based Standard Chartered has been ramping up its private equity investments in Africa.

In January Standard Chartered said it had bought 13 percent in Botswana-listed supermarket chain Choppies Enterprises , a deal that was likely worth around $60 million, according to Thomson Reuters data.

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