WASHINGTON, December 2 /PRNewswire/ --

- ECP takes minority stake in power and water manager, Finagestion

Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), an international private equity firm focused on investing across the African continent, today announced an investment in Finagestion, a holding company that operates several major water and power production and distribution contracts in Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal. The US$30 million (euro 23 million) investment provides significant corporate governance rights - including board representation - and will allow ECP to steer Finagestion toward organic growth opportunities and acquisitions throughout West Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa currently has one of the world's lowest access rates to drinking water and electricity. Most countries have water distribution in urban areas well below 50 percent, and nearly 75 percent of the population lives without electricity. This presents a major market opportunity for companies like Finagestion that can economically and effectively provide these much-needed services.

Because Africa is lagging the rest of the world in terms of utility infrastructure and services, ECP sees a significant opportunity for Finagestion to responsibly expand its operation, said Hurley Doddy, chief operating officer of ECP. In addition, the governments of West Africa are in favor of outside investment and private development of this sector in order to deliver power and water services to their vastly underserved populations.

Finagestion employs more than 6,200 people and provides clean drinking water to 13 million Africans, power to 10 million, and wastewater facilities for 1.6 million. Finagestion's core interests in Cote d'Ivoire are Societe de Distribution d'Eau de Cote d'Ivoire (SODECI), a water production and distribution company; Compagnie Ivorienne d'Electricite (CIE), a power transmission and distribution company; and Compagnie Ivorienne de Production d'Electricite (CIPREL), a power generation company. CIE and SODECI are listed on the Abidjan regional stock exchange (BRVM). In Senegal, the firm holds a controlling interest in water production and distribution company Senegalaise des Eaux (SDE). Finagestion provides these operating subsidiaries with management and technical oversight.

ECP expects to leverage Finagestion's operating and management strengths to help the company become one of the most prominent players in the West African utility sector, said Vincent le Guennou, executive vice president of ECP. With its sound track record and profitability, the company is in a prime position to assess opportunities for new contracts and expansion in neighboring countries.

Finagestion is a wholly owned vehicle of the French conglomerate, the Bouygues Group. It was formed when Bouygues took over SAUR's African activities, which had been in place since the 1950s.

ECP's previous investments in the African utilities sector include a US$40 million investment in Veolia Water Maroc, which provides electricity, water and wastewater services in Morocco. The Finagestion investment was made through ECP's US$523 million ECP Africa Fund II PCC and provided an opportunity for the fund to further diversify its portfolio in terms of industry and geography. Africa Fund II was established in December 2005 to capitalize on the numerous investment opportunities throughout Africa in sectors such as telecom, natural resources, financial services, agribusiness, transportation, and power and water.


Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) is the first private equity firm to raise more than US$1.5 billion to invest in companies across the African continent. The ECP team has an eight-year track record of pan-African investing. The firm's investment strategy is focused on delivering consistently above-market returns to investors that are uncorrelated to the U.S. and other global economies. For more information, please see www.ecpinvestments.com.

Jennifer Gill of FD, +1-213-452-6458, jennifer.gill@fd.com, for ECP