Private equity firm invests in French utility holding company operating in West Africa

Washington, D.C., Dec. 2, 2008 — Private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) announced an investment in Finagestion, a French holding company that operates several water and power production and distribution contracts in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal. The $30 million investment provides significant corporate governance rights for the firm — including board representation — which ECP says will allow them to steer Finagestion toward organic growth opportunities and acquisitions throughout West Africa.

“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, COO of ECP.

Finagestion employs more than 6,200 people and provides drinking water to 13 million people, power to 10 million people, and wastewater facilities for 1.6 million people. 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.

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 $40 million investment in Veolia Water Maroc, which provides electricity, water and wastewater services in Morocco. The Finagestion investment was made through ECP’s $523 million “ECP Africa Fund II PCC.” The “Africa Fund II” was established in December 2005 to capitalize on investment opportunities throughout Africa in sectors such as telecom, natural resources, financial services, agribusiness, transportation, and power and water.

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