Vantage Capital supports Amethis and West Africa Emerging Markets Growth Fund exit from Petro Ivoire

3 December 2018 • reading time:7 mn • News

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire – Amethis, Vantage Capital and West Africa Emerging markets Growth Fund (WAEMGF) are pleased to announce the sale of Amethis and WAEMGF participations in Petro Ivoire through a Leveraged Management Buy Out, one of the first of that kind to be structured in the UEMOA region and which enables the founding family to regain a controlling equity stake in the company.

Founded in 1994 by Mathieu Kadio-Morokro, Petro Ivoire is one of the top 3 distributor of oil and gas products in Cote d’Ivoire. The company distributes oil (super, gasoil, etc), gas (LPG in bottle of 6kg, 12kg and bulk) as well as lubricants under its own brand. Petro Ivoire ranked 3th in terms of volume of oil distributed in Cote d’Ivoire (behind Total Cote d’Ivoire and Vivo Energy Cote d’Ivoire) with a 11% market share, and number 2 in the gas segment with a 31% market share.

Petro Ivoire is one of the flagship of the Ivoirian economy and has succeeded to become the largest local independent player of the oil and gas industry in the country.

The founding family who manages the company for the past 20 years has successfully built a large distribution network across the country with a total of 72 gas stations as of today. Petro Ivoire also owns a 40% stake in SAEPP, the largest gas storage and filling unit in Cote d’Ivoire.

With WAEMGF and Amethis entry in Petro Ivoire shareholding, respectively in February 2012 and July 2013 followed by a second investment in January 2016 for Amethis, Petro Ivoire has managed to seize major investment opportunities leading to an outstanding expansion of the company network. The financial and strategic support from both funds, as well as the professionalism and expertise of the management team have enabled the company to double its gas stations network – including the ESSENCI network acquisition in 2014 – and to significantly increase its oil and gas volume sold. Petro Ivoire has sold a total of 230 million Liters of oil and gas products in 2017.

Sébastien Kadio-Morokro, Managing Director of the company, declared:

“The ambitious strategic plan deployed over the past few years with Amethis and WAEMGF has enabled Petro Ivoire to engage into the following step of its development. The outcome of this partnership has been very positive, and we are committed to meet the upcoming challenges to achieve our ambition to become one of the largest African company of oil and gas distribution.”

The exit of Amethis and WAEMGF from Petro Ivoire has been structured through a Leveraged Management Buy Out, one of the first of that kind to be structured in francophone West Africa. The structured mezzanine funding injected by the South-African fund Vantage Capital, has enabled the founding family to regain a controlling equity stake in the company. Both funds’ exit has also enabled Geogas SAS, an international gas trading company based in France to take an equity stake in the company alongside the founding family.

Jean-Thomas Lopez, Amethis Portfolio Manager, declared: “ Amethis is proud to have supported the founding family for the past 5 years during which we have created added-value by doubling Petro Ivoire’s network, enabling a better gas supply to Ivorian families (which contributes to the fight against deforestation by reducing the use of charcoal), and  improving Petro Ivoire’s financial structure. We have built a continuous and effective relationship of trust with Sebastien Kadio-Morokro, which has enabled us to propose an innovative and relutive structuration for our exit to the founding family, who thus retake the control of the company.

Michel Abrogoua, Managing Partner at WAEMGF, declared: “Our capital and strategic approach with Petro Ivoire perfectly illustrates our philosophy which has contributed to the company’s organic growth. Its positioning as an Ivorian gas and oil market leader is the result of a clear and ambitious strategy, a visionary management and an efficient governance. Through this exit, which enables the founding family to regain the majority shareholding, we are confident in the future of Petro Ivoire.”

Luc Albinski, Managing Partner at Vantage Capital, explained that “Vantage is proud to have structured the first-ever leveraged management buyout in Francophone West Africa. Vantage’s mezzanine product provided the ideal solution to Petro Ivoire’s shareholders: enabling the private equity investors to achieve a successful exit and the founding family to acquire a controlling stake in their business without having to write out a big equity cheque.”

David Kornik, Partner at Vantage Capital, added that “Pétro Ivoire is run by an experienced and deeply talented management team. They have successfully established the business amongst the leading players in Côte d’Ivoire’s downstream oil & gas sector and we look forward to partner with them through the company’s next growth phase.”

Warren van der Merwe, Managing Partner at Vantage Capital, declared: “We are delighted to conclude our first transaction in Francophone Africa. We believe Pétro Ivoire to be a gem. After being backed by several private equity funds over the past decade, the founding family has now been able regain control of their business. The new strategic alliance with Geogas Trading, a major gas trading company, bodes well for the future of Petro Ivoire.”

Clifford Chance (in Morocco) and Cabinet Chauveau (in Côte d’Ivoire) acted as legal counsel to Vantage, whereas Carlara International (in France), CMS Francis Lefebvre (in France) and Emire Partners (in Côte d’Ivoire) were the respective legal advisors of Geogas Entreprise SAS, Amethis & West Africa Emerging Markets Growth Fund and Pétro Ivoire. Denton (in Morocco) provided tax advice. KPMG (in France) and Ernst & Young (in Côte d’Ivoire) were the financial advisors, OnPoint Africa (in Côte d’Ivoire) provided commercial advice, Marsh (in France) provided insurance advice and Ibis Consulting (in South Africa) reviewed the environmental impact.


About Petro Ivoire

Petro Ivoire is a private Ivoirian company operating for the past 25 years on the domestic oil and gas distribution market. Thanks to the dynamism and professionalism of its management team, Petro Ivoire has succeeded to become a leading actor of the oil and gas industry in the country.  With a total network of 72 gas stations, Petro Ivoire offers to its clients a large range of services, innovative solutions and quality products including the commercialization of lubricants products certified by American Petroleum Institute. Petro Ivoire is also the first local gas distributor in Cote d’Ivoire.

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About Amethis

Amethis is an investment fund manager dedicated to the African continent, with an investment capacity exceeding €600m. Amethis brings growth capital to promising midcap champions in a diversity of sectors throughout the African continent. As an active shareholder, Amethis offers key support and expertise through its international network, its opportunities of external growth and its value-added governance.

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A propos de Vantage Capital Group

Vantage Capital Group was established in 2001 and is the largest independent pan-African mezzanine debt fund manager on the African continent. It currently manages assets of US$ 960 million in five distinct mezzanine and renewable energy debt funds and has to date made 41 investments across the African continent.  

Vantage has offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town and targets mezzanine debt opportunities of US$ 5 – 25m across more than a dozen key African markets. Mezzanine debt is an intermediate form of risk capital, which is situated between senior debt, the least risky tranche of the capital structure, and equity, the most risky. It combines elements of both debt and equity thereby providing companies with long-term funding on terms which are less dilutive to shareholders than pure equity.

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About West Africa Emerging Markets Growth Fund

The West Africa Emerging Markets Growth Fund (WAEMGF) is a €38.5 million investment fund backed by the South Africa Government Employee Pension Fund (GEPF) through the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the ECOWAS Investment and Development Bank (EBID) and select regional financial services institutions.

WAEMGF provides growth and expansion capital to businesses in West Africa with potential for strong value creation in sectors such as energy, financial services, telecoms, multimedia, agro business and distribution. The fund is managed by Phoenix Capital Partners (PCP), a Phoenix Capital Management’s subsidiary.