16.02.2018 07:20 Age: 34 days

Successful Namibian water company attracts private equity investment

Eos Capital, the leading Namibian private equity firm, is pleased to announce that it has acquired the majority of the ordinary share capital of Heat Exchange Products (HEP) and Namibia Aqua Mechanica (NAM).

Pending Namibian Competition Commission approval, this acquisition greatly supports the Industrialisation drive in boosting the national economy of Namibia. HEP and NAM are key players in Namibia’s water industry, a sector that forecasts potential growth and through the investment of Eos, this industry is expected to expand considerably in the future.

HEP was founded by entrepreneur Henning Mercker in 1998 with NAM being acquired as an add-on in 2004. With the implementation of dynamic management principles through the introduction of ISO accreditation and sourcing a professional energetic team, HEP and NAM with its headquarters in Windhoek provided specialised services and products throughout the country and beyond its international borders.

HEP is the second largest water treatment company within Namibia and is committed in providing effective water treatment solutions to its clients through specialised non-commoditized chemicals and services. HEP is present in all sectors of the economy and generates it revenues from clients in the food/beverage, fishing, mining, manufacturing and agricultural sector. NAM is a valve and engine reseller which further compliments all these sectors with additional services and products particularly to the nations’ important revenue markets of agricultural and mining.

HEP is a key player in bulk water treatment to all industries thereby serving Namwater and various municipalities. At present with a total staff of over 30 and its rapid growth over the past 5 years, HEP has become aware of the tremendous growth potential in the water industry. There is a great need to expand and diversify ownership to include previously disadvantaged Namibians and hence the formation of a smart partnership with Eos Capital. Through the capital and strategic support from the N$460 million Allegrow Fund, their investment will provide an additional boost to continuous economic growth and deliver superior returns to its investors.

Mr Johannes !Gawaxab, Executive Chairman of Eos Capital, says that partnerships, like with HEP and NAM, can help Namibian businesses operate at much higher levels than previously thought possible. This investment will strengthen the companies, making it possible to expand them and contribute towards job creation and economic development. Furthermore, the change to majority previously disadvantaged Namibian (PDN) shareholding via Eos Capital will help unlock substantial opportunities.

According to Mr Ekkehard Friedrich, Chief Investment Officer of Eos Capital, after acquiring the majority stake in HEP and NAM, Eos will ensure overall productivity is continued with the retention of all employees and management "Our aim is to invest into companies with the potential for rapid growth and to support them in achieving this growth. HEP and NAM are ideally placed to benefit from the growth in the water sector – a strategic sector for the country – and combining the excellent management and our support from a strategy, governance and network perspective, the business will no doubt be a success story for the country and our investors.”

Mr Henning Mercker, who will remain as CEO and shareholder of HEP and NAM, is excited about the new venture. "We are delighted to have found a strong partner in Eos Capital with whom we can continue our growth strategy systematically. We are all proudly Namibian, together we can reach our full potential."

The water sector remains crucial in every country and will always have great potential for strategic growth. National projects and upgrading developments have been envisaged for the coming years and HEP/NAM as in the past, will be part of this growth in the future. This partnership will result in a truly Namibian owned company becoming a key role player in the economy of Namibia.

Eos Capital, the name of which means New Dawn in Greek mythology, is an all-Namibian Private Equity Fund Manager led by experienced professionals with the former MD of Old Mutual Africa Mr Johannes !Gawaxab serving as Executive Chairman, Nicole Maske, who brings significant strategic and financial experience serving as CEO, and Ekkehard Friedrich, who brings considerable international transaction advisory experience, as CIO.

Allegrow Fund is primarily a growth and operational development fund with a Namibia-only mandate. The Fund provides equity, debt and mezzanine finance to fast growing Namibian businesses. It is registered as a Special Purpose Vehicle with Namfisa and raised N$460million from local investors.

Eos Capital started managing Allegrow Fund, in October 2015; the mandate of which is investment into companies that have the potential for rapid growth through the right capital and strategic support.

During 2016 Allegrow Fund took a majority stake in Elso Holdings, a Namibian manufacturer of liquid detergents and paper products; a majority stake in Welwitschia Private School, a private school in Windhoek that caters for mainstream children and those with learning disabilities; and a minority stake in Namibian pharmaceuticals and cosmeceuticals manufacturer Fabupharm.

In 2017, Allegrow Fund acquired a majority stake in local insulated panel and prefabricated building manufacturer, Panel to Panel.

Closing three deals during 2016 – a high number for a private equity firm in one year – gave it a ranking by the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association’s (EMPEA) as one of the top deal makers in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2016. It ranked alongside large established international funds such as Convergence Partners and Voxtra and only 5 fund managers closed one more deal than Eos. This after a long period in Namibia where only a few private equity deals were done. The firm is confident that it has strong pipeline and expects to close further deals in due course.

The firm was also recently identified as one of London Stock Exchange Group’s Companies to Inspire Africa. The report is a celebration of Africa’s fastest-growing and most dynamic businesses. To be included in the list, companies needed to show an excellent rate of growth and potential to power African development.