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Helios Investment Partners Satisfies $50 million OPIC Loan


​​​​​​​September 8, 2015

  • Focused strategy to build African market leaders; private equity fund repays OPIC
  • Helios awarded inaugural OPIC Impact Award for Private Equity in 2014

WASHINGTON – Helios Investment Partners (“Helios”) has repaid in full a $50 million loan to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government’s development finance institution. The OPIC loan, which was issued in 2006, helped capitalize Helios Investors, L.P. (the “Fund”) a $305 million growth equity fund that invested across various sectors in sub-Saharan Africa.

With a focused investment strategy to build market-leading companies operating in core economic sectors of key African markets, the Fund made six investments and to date has exited three of them, generating sound financial returns while laying a foundation for lasting development impact.

Through the Fund, Helios invested in Equity Bank, a leading bank in East Africa that is empowering the unbanked population with products and services that promote financial inclusion; launched HTN Towers, the first independent telecommunications tower company in Africa devoted to building and operating shared towers infrastructure, helping to drive down costs for mobile operators and their customers; and expanded and supported marketing channels for businesses operating in Africa with Continental Outdoor Media, Africa’s largest outdoor advertiser.

“With OPIC’s original backing Helios has grown from one of the first private equity investment firms in Africa to a successful fund manager that has earned the trust and confidence of global commercial investors. Through Helios’ mobilization of private capital to support impactful and viable projects, OPIC achieved both development and financial goals. The success of Helios’ emerging market investments validates a strategy that simultaneously seeks high-quality development objectives, viable financial returns, and catalyzes capital in emerging markets," said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO.

Tope Lawani, co-founder and Managing Partner of Helios Investment Partners, added, “We are proud of Helios’ long association with OPIC, and pleased to demonstrate through our successful investments the positive impact of the capital it has provided to our funds over the years. OPIC’s support for Helios’ funds has catalyzed commitments from the world’s leading institutional investors who recognize the value of having OPIC invest alongside them to access compelling investment opportunities in African markets.”

Following the initial loan to Helios in 2006, OPIC approved an additional $78.5 million for Helios Investors II, L.P, a $908 million fund raised in 2010.

In 2014, OPIC awarded Helios Investment Partners the inaugural OPIC Impact Award for Private Equity, recognizing the firm’s successful strategy for social impact through private investment in a diverse array of sectors across the African continent.

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OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers. 

All OPIC projects adhere to high environmental and social standards and respect human rights, including worker's rights. By mandating high standards, OPIC helps raise the industry and regional standards of the countries in which its projects operate. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide.

Helios Investment Partners is an Africa-focused private investment firm bridging international capital and know-how to African talent and enterprise. The firm has built a record that spans creating start-ups to providing established companies with growth capital and expertise. One of the few independent pan-African private equity investment firms founded and led by Africans, Helios manages funds totalling over $3 billion. The Helios team applies developed world investment tools to African business opportunities, taking a platform-building approach to portfolio development. Helios’ portfolio companies operate in more than 35 countries in all regions of the continent. The firm’s diverse LP base comprises a broad range of the world’s leading investors, including sovereign wealth funds, corporate and public pension funds, endowments and foundations, funds of funds, family offices and development finance institutions across the US, Europe, Asia and Africa.