UGANDA Eastern Africa’s new private equity player, Ascent, has launched a $20 million (about Shs54 billion) equity fund in Uganda to be invested in commercially viable companies in the next eight to 10 years.

The fund, under the flagship of The Ascent Rift Valley Fund, targets to invest a minimum of $2 million (about Shs5.4 billion) and a maximum of $10 million (about Shs27 billion) per Ugandan enterprise.

Private Equity is money invested into a private company, or the privatisation of a company through the investment of outside money.

Launching the fund at the Kampala Serena Hotel last week, the senior partner with Ascent Capital Limited, Mr Lucas Kranck, said: “We will invest up to $20 million in Uganda in the next eight to 10 years. Ascent will invest in businesses (companies) with a proven track record and a potential for rapid growth. Ideally, these companies must have been in operation for at least two years.”

About the specifics areas where the firm will invest the fund in Uganda and the greater East African region, Mr Kranck said sectors which Ascent is interested in include: manufacturing, especially in the fast-moving consumer goods sector (such as foods & beverages), agro-processing, industrial goods and construction materials. Others are the financial sector (insurance), health services, distribution, oil & gas supplies, and Information Communications Technology.

He added: “We seek to invest in businesses that are scalable and can potentially be expanded regionally. Additionally, we are looking to partner with companies where we can add significant value on the operational side.”

In total, Ascent has earmarked a $50 million private equity to invest in the region and it has divided the money into three states which it calls the Greater East Africa. They include Uganda allocated $20 million, Kenya $20 million and Ethiopia $10 million.

November 24, 2014;