Investec Asset Management (Investec), through its African private equity capability, has made a follow-on growth equity investment alongside its consortium partners into Mobisol, one of Africa’s leading providers of off-grid solar home systems (SHS).
Investec made an initial equity investment into Mobisol in late 2016, leading a consortium that included the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Dutch development bank (FMO). Over the past year this consortium has supported Mobisol’s continued growth in its existing markets of Tanzania and Rwanda and its expansion into Kenya.
The Investec consortium’s follow-on growth equity investment, combined with recently concluded debt-financing deals, means that Mobisol has secured over US$25mn funding in the last 6 months1 and ensures that Mobisol will have sufficient capital to electrify tens of thousands of additional households in East Africa.
Mobisol, headquartered in Berlin, provides low-income African households with high-quality solar home systems that are a clean, safe and affordable alternative to fossil fuels. Mobisol systems are designed specifically for the African market, and are powerful enough to meet the energy needs of a typical off-grid African household. These systems are able to power lighting, a radios, stereo, mobile phone charger, a TV, and, depending on system size, other appliances such as irons, refrigerators and other productive use equipment.
A “pay-as-you-go” financing plan makes the systems affordable, with entry-level systems costing a similar amount per day to what the typical customer would otherwise spend on kerosene, candles, batteries, and mobile phone charging. A significant proportion of Mobisol customers generate income from their SHS, providing services such as mobile-phone charging or hair cutting, or running some other small business (e.g. a small shop with LED lighting and refrigeration or a village cinema with projector).
Thomas Gottschalk, Founder and CEO of Mobisol, said, “Mobisol’s partnership with the Investec consortium allows us to further grow and to set the stage for providing reliable and affordable solar energy solutions to 20 million people by 2023. We are delighted to have joined hands with a strong partner who supports our mission to sustainably, yet profitably provide energy access to millions of people – thus protecting the global climate while empowering lives and boosting African economies.”
Mark Jennings, an Investment Principal in Investec Asset Management’s private equity team, said: “Since our initial investment Mobisol has continued to successfully expand its operating footprint, most notably with entry into Kenya, whilst also strengthening and innovating around its product offering and its business model. This, combined with a disciplined approach to on-the-ground execution and a strong commitment to quality and reliability, positions Mobisol for further strong growth and impact.”
Peter Baird, Head of African Private Equity, Investec Asset Management, said “We look forward to supporting Mobisol in the next phase of their growth and development.”
Since inception Mobisol has installed over 100,000 solar home systems in Tanzania, Rwanda, and Kenya, enabling some 500,000 people to enjoy clean, affordable and reliable solar energy. Mobisol is a major driver of rural development and job creation in East Africa, stimulating economic and social development, particularly for women. More than 600 million people across Africa still do not have access to electricity: Mobisol’s high-quality off-grid solar systems offer an attractive and highly scalable solution to addressing the energy needs of Africa.
Investec Asset Management established an African private equity capability in 2008. The Private Equity strategy focuses on growth capital and buyout investments in established mid-market and larger companies in Africa, with the objective of supporting the creation of local or regional champions in their respective industries.