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Actis invests in East African tyre company AutoXpress

3 Feb 2014

Emerging market private equity firm Actis has acquired a 36 per cent equity interest in AutoXpress, East Africa’s largest tyre wholesaler and retailer.

Operating through 20 company-owned stores in Kenya and Rwanda, AutoXpress is the key distributor and retailer of leading tyre, battery and suspension brands, including Pirelli, Dunlop, Marshal, BKT, KYB and Energizer. Servicing both corporate customers and the Kenyan retail market, AutoXpress is a third generation family business.

Peter Schmid, head of private equity at Actis said, “AutoXpress is a compelling entrepreneurial business that meets a core consumer need: access to quality tyres, automotive parts and services in convenient locations. In partnership with the management team, we intend to accelerate AutoXpress’s expansion across East Africa to become the leading pan-regional tyre and auto-parts business.”

Actis head of East Africa, Michael Turner, added, “I’m delighted to see Actis building on its long track record of backing high quality management teams in leading African businesses. AutoXpress’s products and services are particularly relevant to the Kenyan market, which is dominated by second hand cars. By backing the leading provider of after-market tyres, auto parts and services, we hope this investment will directly benefit East African consumers and businesses.”

Actis currently has $1.5bn invested in 18 countries in Africa. To date, Actis has invested $2.6bn in 64 investments across the continent. Current investments in Africa include Paycorp, a payments business in South Africa; Edita Food Industries, a snack food business in Egypt; Actom, South Africa’s major electrical engineering, manufacturing, distribution and contracting company; Alexander Forbes, EMPH and Vlisco Group.

Actis has invested close to $400m into East Africa and close to $300m into real estate developments in sub-Saharan Africa, including One Airport Square, Ghana’s first and only LEED-certified green building; and Garden City, Nairobi’s $250m flagship retail, residential and commercial property development.

Energy investments include Songas, a gas-fired generation project in Tanzania; Azito, the largest power plant in Côte d’Ivoire; and Umeme, the national grid in Uganda.

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