Dutch Firm DOB Equity Eyes Three Investments in East Africa

DOB Equity, a Dutch family-backed impact investor focusing on investments in East Africa, plans to acquire stakes in at least three companies this year amid falling private equity transactions in the region.

The planned investments are in electric mobility, insurance and health-tech industries, Co-Chief Executive Officer Saskia van der Mast said in an interview. The transactions range from $250,000 to more than $5 million, with shareholding of 10% to 49%.

“We are really looking for companies that are able to disrupt industries,” she said. “Our criteria is for these companies to be high impact, scalable and innovative businesses, so we really look for companies that focus on the mass market, providing goods and services that can improve people’s lives.”

DOB has invested in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda in 23 companies ranging from renewable energy, waste recycling, education, agriculture, to retail and distribution. The portfolio comprises e-commerce companies including farm produce distributor Twiga Foods, solar electronics retailer M-Kopa Kenya Ltd., transport and logistics provider Sendy Ltd. and consumer goods retailer Copia Kenya.

Just before the onset of Covid-19, DOB Equity was considering entry into Ethiopia to tap Africa’s second-biggest population, according to Van der Mast. “That is something we could pick up in the future,” she said.

The investment into East Africa will be welcome after flows halved in the first seven months of this year. The value of disclosed merger and acquisition deals dropped to $416 million, compared with $853 million a year earlier, according to Nairobi-based I&M Burbidge Capital. Transactions declined to 60 from 70 a year earlier and most deals were in the financial services and technology industries.

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