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Emerging Capital sees profit in 13 000 trucks linking Africa

ECP paid an undisclosed amount for a majority stake in Inter Africa Transport Forex.

Emerging Capital Partners agreed to take control of an African financial-technology company that helps more than 13 000 truck drivers haul goods across the continent.

ECP paid an undisclosed amount for a majority stake in Inter Africa Transport Forex, which began as a startup in Mauritius in 2007 and now spans 10 countries. It specialises in online fuel orders, cash pay-outs, road tolls, border payments or parking. The investment is being made by the Washington-based firm’s $640 million ECP Africa Fund IV.

“We’re looking for more opportunities, more recently also in southern Africa,” said Paul Maasdorp, a director at ECP. An almost 10% depreciation in the rand against the dollar over the past 12 months is making it easier for ECP to compete against bids from South African investors in the region, he said.

Read: Truck torchings: SA risks losing drivers and exports

The latest deal gives ECP access to a financial-services platform that cuts the cost of trucking in a market where a lack of transport and payment infrastructure makes logistics notoriously complicated and expensive.

ECP plans to inject additional cash into Inter Africa Transport Forex for expansion as it seeks to ensure ongoing double-digit growth, Maasdorp said. The platform is supported by on-the-ground third-party agencies that can process payments where there is no data connectivity, he said.

“The business is custom-built for operating in Africa,” Maasdorp said. ECP has a 17-year track record in Africa, where the buyout firm has made more than 60 investments and completed 40 exits in 44 countries, according to its website.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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