BURKINA FASOAmethis, an investment fund manager, has announced the sale of its minority stake in Sodigaz APC to African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM).

Sodigaz APC is the leading gas bottle (LPG) distributor in Burkina Faso with a market share exceeding 60% and a unique distribution network of 2,200 gas resellers.

Created in 1977 by Amidou Bolly, Sodigaz APC has genuinely participated to the development of the butane gas market in Burkina Faso and in the fight against deforestation. The company employs now over 780 people.

“The partnership with Amethis has been an excellent opportunity for Sodigaz to efficiently deploy its strategic vision and bring a higher quality of services to its clients,” Lala Bolly, CEO at Sodigaz said.

“During these 4 years of partnership with Amethis, Sodigaz has succeeded to consolidate its leadership on the gas market in Burkina Faso, to diversify its products’ offer with the launch of the solar and achieve its regional expansion with the opening of its subsidiary PROGAZ in Benin.

“We are very proud of these evolutions highly structuring for the resilience, the development and the sustainability of Sodigaz, and which further anchor the Group into the socioeconomic development of West Africa.”

Amethis invested in Sodigaz APC in July 2017 and has since supported the company and its highly skilled management team led by Ms. Lala Bolly, in strengthening its governance, in its regional expansion, in enlarging its products’ offer and in the implementation of a solid health and safety policy.

“Thanks to our close partnership with Ms. Lala Bolly and her team, Sodigaz has experienced a substantial transformation since the initial years of our investment,” Khady Koné-Dicoh, Partner at Amethis said.

“We are proud of this successful investment in Burkina Faso which confirms our investment focus on resilient and high growth sectors driven by a fast-growing emerging middle class, high-skilled and ambitious management and a joint vision with existing shareholders.

“We are also particularly proud to have invested in a player that remains at the forefront of the fight against deforestation in this Sahelian country and in the preservation of the health of women and children often exposed to the toxic smoke of the charcoal traditionally used by Burkinabé households.

“Moreover, we are honored to have contributed to a positive model for the promotion of gender parity in Africa with a company committed to strengthening women’s leadership and economic empowerment at the highest level of its management”.

Sodigaz APC has demonstrated a strong track record of delivering high growth and solid financial performance with an annual growth rate of +14% over the past 4 years. The Company is well-positioned to deliver future growth and establish its position as one of the leading energy players in the region.

“Access to clean cooking falls within UN SDG 7 – access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” Patrick Kouamé, Investment Director at AIIM, said.

“We see bottled gas as a vital ‘bridging fuel’ in the long-term transition to a sustainable energy system, and a core part of AIIM’s distributed energy investment strategy, alongside solar home systems. Sodigaz is a local LPG champion, and we look forward working closely with Ms Bolly and her team to expand its operations across West Africa, diversify the product offering and deliver clean fuel to households in the region.”

AIIM is a member of Old Mutual Alternative Investments (OMAI) and has been investing in the African infrastructure sector since 1999 with a track record extending across seven African infrastructure funds.

AIIM’s team of 41 investment professionals is based out of five offices across the continent in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos and Abidjan.

AIIM has raised over US$2.3 billion in commitments for its private equity funds which structure and invest in the financing of infrastructure projects and companies across the continent.

AIIM currently manages US$2.0 billion in assets across the power, telecommunications, energy and transport sectors with operations in 19 countries throughout the continent.