September 20, 2018 / 12:16 PM / 8 months ago

Africa-focused buyout firm DPI buys irrigation company CMGP for $100 mln

LONDON, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Africa-focused private equity firm DPI has bought a majority stake in Moroccan irrigation company Compagnie Marocaine de Goutte à goutte et de Pompage (CMGP) for around $100 million, it said in a statement.

More than two-thirds of Morocco is agricultural land but irrigation is practiced on only 16 percent of the cultivated territory, according to the World Bank.

“There is considerable potential for expansion in irrigation across the African continent and we look forward to working with the company on a number of strategic initiatives to address this,” DPI Partner Sofiane Lahmar said.

The transaction is the biggest private equity deal in Morocco so far in 2018, according to data from the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association.

DPI bought the stake from the Moamah family, who established the company in 1995, and private equity firm Amethis.

DPI is a $1.1 billion Africa-focused private equity firm that invests in companies benefiting from the fast-growing emerging middle class in Africa. In Morocco, DPI is also invested in university UPM.

After years of preparation, Morocco is undergoing a gradual liberalisation to make the economy more resilient. The success of the reform is key to Morocco’s ambition of becoming a financial hub in Africa.

While the dirham has been stable, the economic outlook has been hit by rising oil prices and a consumer boycott campaign against three of the biggest brands in the country, among them French dairy maker Danone.

Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy and PwC advised DPI on the transaction. (Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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