Jacana Partners merges with East Africa’s InReturn Capital and raises new pan-African SME fund

Inreturn Capitals' Partners Ezra Musoke, left, and Anthony Gichini, right, and Jacana Partners CEO, Simon Merchant in the middle

Inreturn Capitals’ Partners Ezra Musoke, left, and Anthony Gichini, right, and Jacana Partners CEO, Simon Merchant in the middle

• Move completes Jacana (formerly Fidelity Capital Partners) transition to pan-African private equity firm

• New $75 million fund to increase SME access to private equity investment

• West African entrepreneurs to benefit from experience and learnings of East African counterparts

Accra, 19th February 2013: Jacana Partners (formerly Fidelity Capital Partners), the private equity company that invests in small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to deliver social and financial returns, has announced a merger with its long-term partners in East Africa, InReturn Capital, an SME private equity firm based in Nairobi that invests in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. In the first phased of a legal merger which is expected to close later this quarter, InReturn Capital has rebranded to Jacana Partners. The merger will create an SME private equity group with pan-African coverage that will manage a new $75 million SME fund expected to close later this year.

The move completes Jacana’s transition to a pan-African company and marks a significant boost for West African entrepreneurs seeking value-add expertise and growth capital for their SMEs. Through the new fund, entrepreneurs will receive increased access to private equity investment as well as Jacana’s dedicated on-the-ground investment teams and international private equity expertise. By partnering with Jacana, entrepreneurs will also benefit from the invaluable experience and learnings of their East African counterparts.

The rebranding and subsequent merger is the rational next step for a partnership that has been running successfully for three years and follows the rebranding of Jacana’s West African operations (previously Fidelity Capital Partners) in August last year.

Stephen Antwi-Asimeng, Partner at Jacana said: “By merging with our East African partners InReturn Capital, we are consolidating our business into a single fund manager. As a unified Jacana, our West African investment team and partner entrepreneurs will have access to the learnings and experiences of our East African teams and partners. This insight will be invaluable for unlocking business growth in the West African region, where we have many of the same sectors, opportunities and challenges as our East African counterparts. The merger is the final step in our transition from our Ghanaian beginnings as part of the Fidelity Group to a truly pan-African firm. As well as investing the remaining capital from our existing Funds, the new Jacana will deploy a new $75 million SME Fund that we are currently raising from international investors, that will allow us to increase the scale and reach of our operations.”

Jacana has invested $20 million to date in 20 portfolio companies, employing over 1,300 people. Jacana currently operates in six markets in West and East Africa (Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda) and intends to move into two new countries with the new fund, such as Ethiopia, Nigeria and/or Francophone West Africa. Jacana is the only pan-African private equity company with a permanent commitment to the SME sector.