Sojitz Corporation, Japanese firm, has disclosed the reasons it is making a strategic investment in Helios Investment Partners, which owns all the shares of the Nigerian gas distribution company, Axxela.
This was confirmed in a statement issued by the company.
According to the statement, the strategic investment is expected to open the door for the company’s entry to a gas downstream market in Africa where huge growth potential is expected.
What Sojitz is saying about the investment
Masakazu Hashimoto, Chief Operating Officer, Infrastructure & Healthcare Division, Sojitz Corporation said, “We are pleased to announce this strategic investment into the Axxela Group, which opens the door for our entry to a gas downstream market in Africa where huge growth potential is expected. Africa is the largest frontier in the 21st century.
“This transaction embodies our market-oriented initiative as well as co-creation and sharing methodologies. We expect that this collaboration will create additional value to Axxela and their stakeholders by way of a disciplined investment while ESG issues are fully addressed.”
What you should know about Helios
- After its divestment last September from GBfoods Africa and in November from Vivo Energy, the capital investor Helios has finalised its partial exit from West Africa, specifically from Nigeria.
- Helios Investment Partners sold 25% of the firm’s shares to the Japanese Sojitz Corporation. The amount of the sale was not disclosed. Helios will retain the majority of the company’s capital, ie 75% of shares.
- This operation marks Helios’ third outing in 6 months. In September 2021, the private equity firm dedicated to Africa sold its 49% stake in consumer goods distributor GBfoods Africa to its co-shareholder and partner GBfoods SA. Two months later, she sold her shares in the retailer and distributor of fuels and lubricants Vivo Energy to the Vitol group.
- This operation represents “Japan’s first strategic investment in a gas distribution company in Africa”. Sojitz, a conglomerate listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, whose activities cover several sectors, including energy, automotive, agriculture and chemicals, considers its investment in Axxela as “its entry into the gas market in Africa, where enormous growth potential is expected”.
Ogbemi Ofuya, Partner at Helios Investment Partners, said, “We feel privileged to enter into this partnership with Sojitz to drive further growth of Axxela’s business. This transaction demonstrates the value of our strategy to build market-leading, strategically important businesses which become highly sought-after by global investors seeking to enter Africa or grow their presence on the continent. Sojitz is a world-class energy infrastructure investor, and their investment represents the first Japanese strategic investment in a downstream gas distribution business in Africa. We look forward to working together to accelerate energy access for industrial growth and decarbonisation across Africa.”
Also Mr. Bolaji Osunsanya, CEO of Axxela Limited said, “We are delighted to welcome Sojitz to the Axxela family. This represents another first for us as an organisation, and a huge testament of continued investor confidence in our business. It also further affirms our position not only as a market leader, but as a reputable partner enabling industrialisation across Africa. With Sojitz onboard, our capacity is stronger, and we are better situated to attract the requisite capital to continue executing our development-oriented projects.’’
West Africa’s abundant gas resources have for decades served the energy requirements of Europe and Asia via LNG exports, with modest growth in regional consumption due to the dearth of processing and distribution infrastructure to connect with market demand.
Helios and Sojitz together believe that the actionable, economically viable and just energy transition pathway for Africa can be achieved through the accelerated build-out of gas infrastructure, which would enable the switch away from coal and liquid fuels, eliminate routine gas flaring and support the increased penetration of renewable energy by complementing its intermittent supply with reliable and flexible gas-fired power supply.