Printable Version

Helios Investment Partners Satisfies $50 million OPIC Loan



Tuesday, September 8, 2015

(OPIC)  Focused strategy to build African market leaders; private equity fund repays OPIC

Helios awarded inaugural OPIC Impact Award for Private Equity in 2014

WASHINGTON – Helios Investment Partners (“Helios”) has repaid in full a $50 million loan to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government’s development finance institution. The OPIC loan, which was issued in 2006, helped capitalize Helios Investors, L.P. (the “Fund”) a $305 million growth equity fund that invested across various sectors in sub-Saharan Africa.

With a focused investment strategy to build market-leading companies operating in core economic sectors of key African markets, the Fund made six investments and to date has exited three of them, generating sound financial returns while laying a foundation for lasting development impact.

Through the Fund, Helios invested in Equity Bank, a leading bank in East Africa that is empowering the unbanked population with products and services that promote financial inclusion; launched HTN Towers, the first independent telecommunications tower company in Africa devoted to building and operating shared towers infrastructure, helping to drive down costs for mobile operators and their customers; and expanded and supported marketing channels for businesses operating in Africa with Continental Outdoor Media, Africa’s largest outdoor advertiser.

“With OPIC’s original backing Helios has grown from one of the first private equity investment firms in Africa to a successful fund manager that has earned the trust and confidence of global commercial investors. Through Helios’ mobilization of private capital to support impactful and viable projects, OPIC achieved both development and financial goals. The success of Helios’ emerging market investments validates a strategy that simultaneously seeks high-quality development objectives, viable financial returns, and catalyzes capital in emerging markets," said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO.

Tope Lawani, co-founder and Managing Partner of Helios Investment Partners, added, “We are proud of Helios’ long association with OPIC, and pleased to demonstrate through our successful investments the positive impact of the capital it has provided to our funds over the years. OPIC’s support for Helios’ funds has catalyzed commitments from the world’s leading institutional investors who recognize the value of having OPIC invest alongside them to access compelling investment opportunities in African markets.”

Following the initial loan to Helios in 2006, OPIC approved an additional $78.5 million for Helios Investors II, L.P, a $908 million fund raised in 2010.

In 2014, OPIC awarded Helios Investment Partners the inaugural OPIC Impact Award for Private Equity, recognizing the firm’s successful strategy for social impact through private investment in a diverse array of sectors across the African continent.