French Future Champions (FFC), the partnership between institutional investors Caisse des Dépôts and the Qatar Investment Authority, has joined forces with African investor Wendel and Africa distribution specialists CFAO to takeover SGI Africa, a property firm that develops and operates shopping centers across Africa.
Wendel and CFAO will both take 40 percent stakes in SGI, while FFC will acquire the remaining 20 percent.
“We are delighted to support the CFAO Group in this ambitious project on the African continent, which combines the best of French expertise in commercial property and distribution,” FFC shareholders CDC International Capital – the direct investment arm of Caisse des Dépôts – and Qatar Investment Authority said in a joint statement.
SGI is already active in Côte d'Ivoire through the PlaYce Marcory shopping center in Abidjan and provides a dedicated property investment vehicle. Over the next five years to seven years, SGI aims to build and operate some 20 shopping centers in eight French-and English-speaking countries in West and Central Africa, including: Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Gabon, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo and DR Congo.
These projects represent a total property investment of around €500 million, to be financed by the company's shareholders and banks. The partners will steadily invest up to €300 million in SGI Africa over the next few years, with an initial round of fundraising totaling some €60 million due to be completed in the coming weeks.
Currently the francophone Wet Africa has yet to receive a much real estate investment as the English speaking East. Speaking at PERE's Africa roundtable earlier this year, Tarik Senhaji, a board member for Wessal Capital, a private equity vehicle backed by Qatar Holding, the Kuwait Investment Authority, Abu Dhabi-based Aabar Investments and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, aid: “I read that 80 percent of the funds raised are going to English speaking Africa purely because it is easier to communicate. In West Africa, the economies have developed much faster than in East Africa, and I think we will see quite a few more trades there.”