Phatisa says closes African Agriculture Fund at $243 mln-Reuters

(Reuters) – Private equity firm Phatisa has closed its biggest fund, the African Agriculture Fund, which has secured commitments of $243 million, it said on Wednesday.

Private equity investors are increasingly targeting sub-Saharan Africa, drawn by some of the fastest economic growth rates in the world and expanding consumption.

But while private equity financing has been on an upward trend, it has not yet reached its 2008 peak, when fund managers raised $2.2 billion. Last year, investors committed $1.4 billion to funds, according to data from the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association.

Phatisa has already invested $84 million of the agriculture fund, which started in 2011, and intends to disburse half of the equity before yearend.

It has already put money into nine projects in seven African countries, ranging from palm oil in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to poultry farming in Zambia and beverage bottling in Ivory Coast.
Phatisa also oversees a $41.5 million Pan African Housing Fund and has another $285 million under management.

Earlier this year, South Africa’s Ethos Private Equity raised $800 million for a new Africa-focused fund, while Helios bagged another $900 million in the previous year.