PineBridge ties up with Saudi’s Kingdom for Africa private equity JV

02 July 2014   Category: News, Global, Middle East, USA, Africa, Saudi Arabia   By Daniel Shane

Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), the family office of Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud, has announced its intention to form a joint venture (JV) with US asset manager PineBridge Investments to invest directly in private equity opportunities in Africa.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between KHC – which owns sizeable equity stakes in entities including Apple, Twitter and Citigroup – and PineBridge Investments Middle East will see the two invest in sectors including manufacturing, consumables, infrastructure and financial services.

The two said that the JV would be formed in response to rising investor demand for exposure to the continent’s fast-growing economies.

“The investment in this platform is a continuation of KHC’s successful investment strategy in Africa that began in 2003, and reflects our confidence in achieving long-term returns for investors in this venture,” commented Prince Alwaleed, in a statement.

Talal Al Zain, chief executive officer, PineBridge Investments Middle East, added: “We have strong conviction that the African continent is going through positive socio-economic transformations. PineBridge Investments has a long track record of direct investing in Africa since the 1990s, with extensive experience in sectors including infrastructure, banking and consumer industries.”

PineBridge, which had AUM of approximately US$71.4 billion as of March 31, currently has African offices in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa, which are charged with investing in equity, credit, and private equity markets.

With a personal fortune estimated at $32.6 billion, Prince Alwaleed is ranked by Bloomberg as the world’s 16th richest person. He is the grandson of King Abdulaziz, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, and nephew of current monarch King Abdullah.

KHC, in which he owns a 95% shareholding, also holds investments including an undisclosed stake in Chinese online retail giant and 47.5% of hotel chain Four Seasons. The remaining 5% of KHC is publicly listed on the Riyadh bourse, known as Tadawul.

According to figures from consultant EY, $3.2 billion was invested in 98 private equity investments in sub-Saharan Africa in 2013.