By Omoh Gabriel
A pan Africa equity firm, Kingdom Zephyr Africa Management Company, has disclosed that it has opened its new office in Lagos, Nigeria. In a statement sent to Vanguard from its London office, it said that the expansion of Kingdom Zephyr‚Äôs activities into Nigeria, Sub-Saharan Africa‚Äôs most populous country and second largest economy, is seen as an important strategic move for the firm.
It said following from the IMF projection, Nigeria will be amongst the world‚Äôs top 10 fastest growing economies between 2011-2015, exhibiting a compound growth rate of around 7 per cent.
The opening of Kingdom Zephyr‚Äôs Lagos office extends the firm‚Äôs local African reach and enhances Kingdom Zephyr‚Äôs ability to source deals in West and Central Africa.
The Nigerian economy the statement further said is set to benefit from the transformation of the banking and financial services, oil and gas and power sectors, all target industries for Kingdom Zephyr. Nigeria has always been a key geography for the firm, having invested in United Bank for Africa plc and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated through its Pan-African Investment Partners (‚ÄúPAIP‚Äù) I Fund. Kingdom Zephyr Partner Seyi Owodunni will head the Lagos office.
Prior to joining Kingdom Zephyr, Seyi was the Chief Financial Officer of Starcomms Plc, a Nigerian telecommunications operator and triple-play provider. Commenting on Kingdom Zephyr‚Äôs investment strategy in Nigeria, Seyi said:
‚ÄúLagos is a vital location for Kingdom Zephyr‚Äôs investment activities within West Africa as we actively look to partner with established, local businesses that have the capabilities to grow and expand across the African continent. Nigeria‚Äôs economic growth has recovered from the temporary dip in 2009 on the back of higher oil prices as well as industry and government reforms, creating significant investment opportunities in companies positioned to benefit from these transformations. Growth will be further aided by key demographic trends such as an expanding workforce, increasing urbanization and the rapid growth of Nigeria‚Äôs middle class; all developments that are consistent with our middle class consumer-focused investment strategy.‚Äù
Kofi Bucknor, Kingdom Zephyr‚Äôs Managing Partner, also said ‚ÄúAlthough Nigeria is still dependent on its oil sector, the government is beginning to take the necessary steps towards economic diversification and market liberalisation while, at the same time, corporate governance is steadily improving. This is making Nigeria an increasingly attractive proposition for private equity investors and we believe it is essential for Kingdom Zephyr to have a local presence to facilitate greater deal flow and execution.‚Äù