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Private equity: AVCA conference April 2014

The AVCA conference was held in Lagos, Nigeria, at the beginning of this month. Here are Dentons’ top five takeaways from the conference.

1. There was huge enthusiasm from the 300 or so attendees at the conference for the opportunities for private equity in Africa. It was also refreshing for international advisers to see an industry that is focused on taking a company from one stage in its development to the next, rather than financial engineering.

2. Private equity is a bifurcated market in Africa. On the one hand, there are energy, telco and financial services transactions with deal values in excess of $100m (£60m). For example, the two largest private equity transactions in Africa last year, both of which Dentons advised on, were the Petrobras joint venture (oil and gas exploration and production in Africa) and multiple investment rounds in IHS Holdings (Africa’s leading mobile infrastructure company). All other businesses typically have deal values of between $1m and $30m; indeed, the EY data referred to below showed that 46 per cent of African private equity exits between 2007 and 2013 had an entry EV of $10m or less. There is very little in the middle…

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