KKR Exits African Investment

By Imani Moise Features Dow Jones Newswires

KKR & Co. said it would sell a controlling stake in its first African investment, one month after the firm disbanded its Africa deal team because it couldn't find enough big companies to buy.

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Sun European Partners, LLP will buy a controlling stake in KKR's Afriflora business for an undisclosed amount. Ethiopia-based Afriflora, the world's largest grower of roses, became the private equity firm's first foray into the continent when it invested about $200 million to buy a stake in the company in 2014.

Buyout firms have looked to expand in Africa and other emerging markets as the North American and European markets became increasingly crowded, but some investments haven't paid off.

Last year, Bain Capital lost control of South African retailer Edcon Holdings Ltd. to lenders in a debt-for-equity swap. Blackstone has taken longer than expected to sell its stake in a Uganda dam. Shares in Nigeria's Diamond Bank PLC have fallen almost 80% since Carlyle Group said it bought a $147 million stake in 2014. Atlas Mara Ltd., a vehicle set up by former Barclays PLC Chief Executive Bob Diamond to invest in African banks, has also stumbled with its investments.

Write to Imani Moise at imani.moise@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

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December 20, 2017 07:54 ET (12:54 GMT)