Ascent Capital Raises Shs 295Bn for Investing in EA SMEs

With the local league in a three week ‘international break’ due to Cranes engagement in Chan qualifiers, treat City rivals KCCA FC and SC Villa are set to light up the Independence day celebration with a mouth-watering derby at the Nakivubo stadium.

The two lock horns to vie for the Independence cup which is largely for bragging rights, seek three months after engaging in fierce but controversial Uganda cup finals in which Villa emerged 3-0 winners at Namboole after the match was abandoned in Ntungamo.

KCCA FC currently sit on the summit of the local league with 14 points, eleven places above their bitter rivals.

SC Villa lost the Super Cup to Vipers early in the season before losing the Eid cup to Maroons fc.

Villa is likely to miss the services of youngster Ambrose Kirya who has been ill. KCCA FC assistant manager Sam Simbwa has affirmed that he is unlikely to call any of the seven players currently in the national team camp. They include;

Denis Okot, Joseph Ochaya, Hassan Wasswa Dazo, Timothy Awanyi, Ivan Ntege, Muzamil Mutyaba and  Hakim Senkumba. Villa will only miss defenders Isaac Muleme and Henry Katongole.

Simbwa will be returning to a team he led last season before quitting unceremoniously.

The match will be played from 4Pm at the Nakivuubo stadium, (both teams play home matches their).
DHL Express has been certified as a top employer in Africa by the Top Employers Institute.


The logistics company was last week named top Employers in twelve of their local markets including Uganda, information pills Angola, ed Botswana, more about Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, and Kenya among others.

The affair took place at a prestigious Top Employer 2016 ceremony in Johannesburg.

This is the second consecutive year that the company has been named the top employer in Africa, highlighting the importance that DHL places on employee engagement and development.

The annual international research undertaken by the Top Employers Institute recognizes leading employers around the world that provide outstanding employee conditions, nurture and develop talent throughout all levels of the organization.

According to Hennie Heymans, Managing Director of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), these certifications reaffirm that the company is on the right track to being an Employer of Choice and a rewarding place to work.

“Being an Employer of Choice is one of the Deutsche Post DHL Group’s three bottom lines, and demonstrates how seriously employee engagement and development are to the business,” he explained, adding, “We aim to be the logistics provider that people turn to first – not only for all their shipping needs, but also as an employee or investor.”

According to the Logistics Company, DHL has implemented many initiatives to motivate employees; one of which is the Certified International Specialist (CIS) program.

“CIS is a cultural change program that revolves around four attributes: Speed, Can-Do Attitude, Right First Time and Passion. Everyone from the Global CEO or our couriers have gone through this training program which reinforces our core competencies. This program has been central to employee development and retention,” he said.

An extension of the CIS program is the Certified International Manager (CIM) program.

“This focuses primarily on ensuring that our leaders have the right leadership and social skills to lead tomorrow’s workforce,” Heymans said.
Hardly a month after closing their first private equity deal in Uganda, ambulance Ascent Capital Africa Ltd has announced that they have successfully raised USD80 million (Shs 295 bn) from investors for investing in East African small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Ascent, rx who launched the Ascent Rift Valley Fund (ARVF) in July 2014 with USD 50 million at first close, treat on Wednesday announced that they have locked down an extra USD 20 million in investor commitments, 33 percent above the initial USD 60 million.

Ascent is the first Private Equity fund in the regional to tap into the regional pension industry, securing USD 5 million from Kenya Power Pension Fund and Nation Media Group Pension Fund.

According to Richard Mugera, ?Country Director at Ascent Capital Uganda, exceeding their targets, was a sign of investor confidence in both the potential of Ascent and East Africa as a region.”

“We have demonstrated a good deals pipeline- both those that have been closed and those in the works,” he said.

Mid-September, Ascent announced that they had made  “significant” investment into Chims Africa (U) Ltd- a Ugandan mobile money agent at an undisclosed amount, bringing to two the number of deals by the fund since it launched in July 2014.

In February 2015, Ascent invested USD 2.5 million into Medpharm Holdings Africa, a leading Ethiopian medical diagnostic laboratory with eyes on the East African region.

Ascent Capital Advisory Services’ Partner, David Owino said that Ascent was at an advanced stage of closing two more deals by end of 2015.

According to Mugera, the funds will be invested exclusively as growth capital in private enterprises in Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Growing popularity of Private Equity

As the cost of credit financing skyrockets in the region, the region’s entrepreneurs, especially SMES are looking to private equity as an alternative of source of capital for expansion.

According to a recent report, by the East Africa Venture Capital Association (EAVCA) titled “Spotlight on East Africa Private Equity,” between 2007–2014, there were 158 reported PE transactions in East Africa totaling to US$ 1.5b.

Kenya dominated with 87 deals worth USD1.14 bn (55 percent and 76 percent of total number of deals and value of transactions respectively} Uganda came second with 25 deals (16 percent) worth USD 120mn.

The rest (29 percent totaling to USD 240mn was shared amongst Rwanda, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

The report also showed that East Africa’s share of PE transactions in Africa although still low, is rising.

The report further shows that in the period between 2011-2014, the region accounted for 18 percent of the total number of PE transactions in Africa from up from 13 percent in 2007 – 2010.

Its share of the total value of African PE transactions also rose up to 6 percent, up from 4 percent in the same period.

The report also showed that the PE market in East Africa is predominantly focused on investing in small and medium-sized enterprises, with a median PE transaction size of US$5mn compared with US$14mn for all African PE transactions.

Private equity or credit financing?

The last 4 years have seen an increasingly tight financial environment characterized by rising interest rates, a depreciating Ugandan Shilling, rising credit default, all made worse by a central bank-led credit squeeze.

Between January and September 2015, the Ugandan Shilling has depreciated against the US Dollar by an average 33 percent from Shs 2,779  to the current Shs 3,695.

In the same period, the central bank has increased the Central Bank Rate from 11 percent to 16 percent and as a result, prime lending rates by commercial banks have gone up from 21.7 percent in January to 23.5 percent.

Rising interest rates have largely been blamed for the high rates of loan defaults observed over the last 4 years.

A BoU June 2015 report, shows the ratio of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) to total gross loans was still very high- 3.97 percent (418.4 billion) compared to 4 years ago when it was only 1.61 percent (Shs105bn)

“Given that 81 percent of all commercial bank private sector credit goes to businesses and under the current tighter financial atmosphere entrepreneurs need to skillfully balance their sources of their growth capital so as to be able to sustainably meet their growth and profitability objectives,” said Mugera.

According to him, the time is ripe for entrepreneurs to consider private equity which provides much more than capital.

“When we invest in any enterprise, we’re not just infusing cash; we’re coming alongside as a partner with both capital that is aligned with the owners of the business. We are there for the whole business cycle, sharing the risks and rewards that come with the fortunes of the business,” he said.

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