Five years after pledging a $5 billion commitment with Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, Investment firm Blackstone Group LP is withdrawing its pact and exiting from its Africa subsidiary, Black Rhino Group.
According to an unidentified person familiar with the process, Blackstone Group is said to be planning on selling Black Rhino Group back to the management. The unit was created in January 2012 to focus on the development and acquisitions of energy and infrastructure projects across Africa.
Blackstone had chosen Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, who was the former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, to head Blackstone sub-Saharan Africa energy infrastructure fund.
Dangote had made a commitment to invest $5 billion by 2019 alongside Blackstone – which they committed to the investment through Black Rhino – but the financial support stopped a year ago. The financial investment focused on sub-Saharan energy projects, Bloomberg reported.
Black Rhino investment
In 2015, after signing a framework agreement, the plan to acquire a fuel pipeline in Ethiopia was shelved years later, before the 540-megawatt Qua Iboe power plant in Nigeria was offered to Black Rhino by Exxon Mobil Corp in 2017.
In the report, Globeleq Inc, an Africa-focused independent power producer, acquired the rights to develop and operate the gas-fired project in Nigeria from the Blackstone group in December 2017, the company said in a reply to questions.
“Since then, together with Black Rhino, Globeleq has been jointly developing the project,” it said.
Someone familiar with the deal stated that when the sale of the power plant is completed, Blackstone will no longer have ownership of Black Rhino.
But with Blackstone pulling out doesn’t end the investment of the company in Africa, as Blackstone is shifting focus on the Middle East and North Africa where it will launch a standalone company to invest millions of dollars in renewable power assets.
Blackstone footprints in Nigeria
Recall Nairametrics had reported that Dangote Group and Black Rhino have signed an agreement with the Kano State Government to build a 100 MW solar power plant. The Co-founder of Blackstone Group, Stephen Schwarzman and Dangote had also had a meeting with President Buhari which was believed to be about investment and job creation in Nigeria.