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Gulf Capital in $51m Africa equity investment

DUBAI, November 26, 2018

Gulf Capital, one of the largest alternative asset management firms in the Middle East, has joined hands with AfricInvest, a leading pan-African mid-cap-focused private equity firm, to provide a $51 million structured loan and equity investment to iSON Xperiences.

The iSON Xperiences (formerly iSON BPO Limited) is one of the largest outsourcing and customer experience partners operating in 14 countries in Africa and in India.

The deal marks the sixth investment for Gulf Capital from its $251 million second debt fund and is the second for the company in Sub-Saharan Africa.

With this commitment in iSON, Gulf Credit Opportunities Fund II is now 52 per cent invested. It is the 10th investment for the $273 million AfricInvest fund III that is now more than 80 per cent deployed.

Gulf Credit Opportunities Fund II, Gulf Capitals’ second private debt fund, and AfricInvest Fund III, the firm’s third generation pan-African fund, provided a total debt and equity commitment of $25.5 million each.

Proceeds from the co-investment will be used for growth and working capital, as well as for acquiring shares from a minority investor, said the duo in a statement.

iSON Xperiences is the largest customer experience and delivery partner in Sub-Saharan Africa, accounting for an estimated 75 per cent of the market, excluding South Africa.

The company’s operations serve 425 million telecom end-users through 27 call centres in 13 Sub-Saharan countries, South Africa and India.

Founded in 2010, iSON Xperiences (formerly iSON BPO Limited) launched its operations in six countries in Africa including Kenya, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Nigeria and in India with a focus on offering call centre services to the telecommunication sector.

The company rapidly expanded and transformed its business to offer related outsourced experience services and technology solutions for the banking and insurance (BFSI), retail, travel and hospitality, media and entertainment, aviation, and e-commerce sectors in addition to the telecommunication industry.

Gulf Capital CEO Dr Karim El Solh said: "iSON Xperiences is another success story in Africa that we are delighted to support through this co-investment with AfricInvest. Our private debt solutions remain a flexible financing instrument for market leaders who are looking for growth and working capital to implement their next phase strategy."

"We commend iSON on its sharp focus on delivering superior customer experience to the end customer for all its clients. This is Gulf Capital’s second investment in Sub-Saharan Africa over the last year, and we look forward to expanding our franchise across across the region," he stated.

Adam Hadidi, the managing director (Private Debt) at Gulf Capital, said: "iSON Xperiences is an inspiring example of how a company can grow from a single country, single sector provider to achieve impressive growth across markets and sectors."

"Very early on, iSON graduated from being a call center services provider to an end-to-end customer experience partner, thus providing a seamless experience to the end customer. The management team has a clear vision and a proven track record of building first-class operations. We are pleased to be partnering with AfricInvest to support iSON in its growth journey," he added.

Hakim Khelifa, the executive partner of AfricInvest, said: "The BPO industry is an important sector for the continent of Africa, providing many opportunities for employment. AfricInvest has considerable experience investing in outsourcing companies and recognises the significant opportunities that lie ahead for iSON Xperiences."

Ramesh Awtaney, the founder and chairman, said: "At iSON Group we continue to transform ourselves to provide our clients solutions for complete Digital Customer Experience Management covering both processes and technology, we are excited to welcome our new investment partners Gulf Capital and Africinvest."

"They bring with them deep industry and geography knowledge. We are confident that with this fresh investment, we are now on an accelerated trajectory to be the largest Customer Experience Partner company in emerging markets," he added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: investment | BPO | Gulf Capital |

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