Actis invests $100m in Nigerian mall

The emerging markets specialist is taking a majority stake in a project in Ikeja, Lagos, with debt funding coming from local players, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc and Standard Bank of South Africa.

Emerging markets specialist Actis is investing $100 million in the development of a shopping centre in Lagos, Nigeria.

The firm, which recently successfully exited a mall in the same city, said the Ikeja mall would measure 28,500 square metres.

Lagos-based oil-to-real estate conglomerate Paragon Holdings and Rand Merchant Bank of South Africa are investing in the project alongside Actis, and will each own 20 percent respectively compared to Actis’s 60 percent share.

Stanbic IBTC Bank and Standard Bank of South Africa are providing loans to complete the project.

Actis exited from its investment in the completed Palms Mall project in Lagos at the end of 2007 giving it a track record in the city. Michael Chu’di Ejekam, Actis head of real estate in West Africa, said the Palms Mall project had already had a “positive impact”on Lagos, while David Morley, head of real estate at the firm, called The Palms a “benchmark” for retail developments in West Africa.

Other recent African mall investments by Actis have been in Ghana and Kenya.

The firm is a spin out from CDC Group, the UK government-backed private equity and real estate emerging markets fund of funds investor.

Ironically, in 2008 CDC came under fire from critics suggesting it had become too commercial. A BBC programme the same year highlighted how taxpayers’ money had been spent on building a mall in Nigeria.