Vantage Capital gives $9 million loan facility to Equity Invest, a Morocco-based tech company

Vantage Capital, Africa’s largest mezzanine fund manager, has announced that it has provided €8.0 million (about US $9 million) of mezzanine funding to Equity Invest, the holding company for six Moroccan technology companies.

The six companies operate in the following complementary market sectors: electronic security solutions including anti-intrusion systems, access control, video surveillance, fire detection, RFID and bank security; audio-visual multimedia systems; photovoltaic solutions for companies in the industrial, services and agricultural sectors; payment solutions including online credit card payments, cash payments and prepaid card services; and e-health information systems for health professionals working in laboratories and hospitals.

Vantage’s funding has enabled the founder, Ali Bettahi, to secure a controlling equity stake in one of Equity Invest’s flagship subsidiaries by facilitating the buy-back of equity from an exiting private equity investor, PME Croissance, managed by AfricInvest. Vantage will support Equity Invest’s organic and acquisitive growth plans in the medium-term. Equity Invest plans to reinforce its position in the Moroccan market by adding more technology companies to its portfolio and developing new markets in the rest of Africa.

Ali Bettahi, Founder of Equity Invest, commented: “Vantage has adopted a pragmatic, solutions-based approach to working with us and we appreciate their diligence, efficiency and professionalism. We welcome Vantage as our newest funding partner and look forward to building a mutually beneficial relationship over the years to come.”

This transaction represents Vantage Capital’s 28th mezzanine transaction across three generations of mezzanine funds with its portfolio of mezzanine investments now spread across ten countries in Africa. Outside of South Africa, Vantage has now invested in eleven transactions across Morocco, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia and Botswana. Equity Invest is Vantage’s first investment in Morocco and second in Francophone Africa.

Luc Albinski, Managing Partner at Vantage Capital, stated: “Vantage is proud to have concluded its first investment in Morocco. Vantage’s mezzanine product has once again proved its value by supporting an entrepreneur to reacquire a controlling stake in one of his businesses whilst at the same time facilitating an attractive exit for the private equity investor.”

Warren van der Merwe, Managing Partner at Vantage Capital, added: “Equity Invest has interests in a broad array of IT businesses in Morocco including security systems, audio-visual solutions, renewable energy, e-payments and software systems for the healthcare industry. We appreciate this rich diversity which reflects the open-minded, pioneering spirit of its founder.”

Vantage Capital was established in 2001 and is the largest independent pan-African mezzanine debt fund manager on the African continent. It currently manages assets of US$ 960 million in five distinct mezzanine and renewable energy debt funds and has to date made 42 investments (mezzanine and energy) across the African continent.

Vantage has offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town and targets mezzanine debt opportunities of US $5 to 25 million across more than a dozen key African markets. Mezzanine debt is an intermediate form of risk capital, which is situated between senior debt, the least risky tranche of the capital structure, and equity, the most risky. It combines elements of both debt and equity thereby providing companies with long-term funding on terms which are less dilutive to shareholders than pure equity.

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