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Apr 28 2010

Signature Group targets Africa's potential $36 billion Infrastructure project finance needs

Mr. Ram Bhatia, CEO and Director of Africa Region.
Mr. Ram Bhatia, CEO and Director of Africa Region.

The group is releasing prior to their participation in the Arab Investment Summit 2010 addressing Investing beyond the GCC

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Middle East investors are turning their attention to the growing infrastructure project finance needs of sub-Saharan Africa, estimated by the World Bank at more than $36 billion a year, according to Signature Group a leading alternative asset management company focused on Emerging Markets.

"We believe there will be a substantial increase in the flow of funds from Middle East investors into developing areas of Africa in resources, infrastructure and related service industries," said Mr. Ram Bhatia, CEO and Director of Africa of Signature Group. "After our successes in India in the infrastructure sector, we are now pursuing the African region, starting with South Africa," he added.

With more than US$1 billion assets under management Signature Group says the economic argument for increased investment in Africa is strong. "The continent has one-third of the world's mineral resources and has weathered the global financial crisis in relatively good shape," Mr. Bhatia added, "Africa is now one of the fastest growing regions in the world, followed by Asia and the Middle East."

As the world emerges from recession, international finance institutions such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank , along with private equity funds, are returning with project finance to Africa. In a recent report, the African Development Bank saw investment resuming particularly in mining and minerals with Asian companies taking advantage, especially Chinese, Korean and Indian investors. "Investment from the Middle East also is increasing," the report added.

Mr. Bhatia continued "This is a major opportunity for infrastructure project financing in particular, perhaps getting close to the record of $18.4 billion set in 2007. It should also be borne in mind that the World Bank reckons that is only half of what Africa actually needs to spend every year on new infrastructure." Mr. Bhatia ended by highlighting, "To increase awareness of our company's ties with Africa, Signature is co-sponsoring South African National day dinner which will be held this evening in Dubai."

The International Monetary Fund recently raised its forecasts for Africa, saying economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole will probably reach 4.7% this year and could accelerate to 5.9% in 2011. Many African nations raised budget deficits to compensate for the drop in global demand but as private and external demand recovers, countries are stepping up infrastructure development.

"African governments understand infrastructure is the key to their economic stability," said Mr. Umesh Chandra, Signature Group CEO "By deciding to enter the African market we hope to replicate the kind of business prospects we have been undertaking in India where we are working with private-public partnerships, private equity, and direct project-based investments in real estate, infrastructure, energy, media and a few other soft sectors. We also see opportunities in mines and minerals as Africa is a continent rich in varied minerals."

Signature Group has an attractive opportunity in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We are seeking prospective investors to be part of a backward integration expansion project involving setting-up of a Copper Cathode manufacturing plant that has ownership in a copper mine. The project is conceptualized and promoted by industry dominant leaders engaged in the manufacturing of various types of copper conductors for over 35 years. The end use markets include the GCC, India and USA.

Signature has devised a secure investment structure for this project which will provide stable income along with attractive risk-adjusted returns to investors providing an estimated internal rate of return (IRR) in excess of 20%.

Mr. Chandra ended, "Our aim is to work on transactions backed by government guarantees and involvement of promoters with proven experience in their respective sectors. We also see our role expanding by providing investment opportunities from India to African investors and vice versa; and starting to offer African investment opportunities to our international investors, thereby giving deals from two emerging markets to our prospective investor pool."

-Ends-

About Signature Group
Signature Group is a specialist alternative asset management firm focused on India, the GCC, Africa and other emerging markets. Priority sectors are infrastructure, logistics, real estate, energy, media and entertainment, education, healthcare, food and agriculture. Signature is a pioneer in structuring innovative transactions with more than US$1 billion of assets under management and investment professionals based in Dubai, UAE and Delhi, Mumbai, India. For more details visit www.signatureamc.com

Interviews and media contact
Sue Krimeed
Marketing and Branding Consultant
Tel: +9714 3491391/2/3
Mobile: +9715 540 6520
E-mail: suha.krimeed@signatureamc.net

© Press Release 2010


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