Africa Railways, a platform led by investment company Citadel Capital, has acquired an additional 34% stake in the national rail operator of Kenya and Uganda, Rift Valley Railways (RVR), from TransCentury Limited, a Nairobi-listed infrastructure company.
The transaction increases Africa Railways' ownership of RVR to 85%, reflecting the shareholders' commitment to the continued development of this vital transportation route.
In January 2014, TransCentury announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Safari Rail Company Limited, had exercised an option that would result in a change of its shareholding in KU RailwaysHoldings Limited, the lead investor in RVR.
Africa Railways' shareholders, including Citadel Capital and five leading international institutional investors, together committed in March 2014 an additional US$ 80 million in equity to increase Africa Railways' capital to US$ 200 million. Part of the proceeds of the US$ 80 million capital increase was used to finance the acquisition of shares from TransCentury, while a substantial portion will be injected into RVR for ongoing improvements.
The current shareholders in Africa Railways include:
Ahmed Heikal, Chairman and Founder of Citadel Capital, said:
"Together with our leading development finance institution investors, we believe the citizens and business communities of Kenya and Uganda have a right to a world-class railway that serves as an engine of national development and regional integration. We are honored to continue working with our partners in Africa Railways to structure, advise and fully fund RVR's turnaround story. RVR is one of the most exciting investments in our portfolio and our most significant investment in East Africa."
Citadel Capital first acquired a minority stake in RVR in 2010, eventually becoming the lead shareholder via Africa Railways. The firm has since led full financing and implementation of a five-year, US$ 287 million turnaround program. Since 2010, RVR has completed the first phase of the replacement and rehabilitation of hundreds of kilometers of track, including the track that links Kenya with Tororo in Eastern Uganda and Gulu in the north. The entire railway network is now managed through a state-of-the-art GPS-based control room from the company's headquarters in Nairobi.
The latest capital increase will finance RVR's plans to purchase new locomotives, doubling its fleet size in the coming 12 months.
Karim Sadek, Citadel Capital's Managing Director for Transportation Investments, said:
"From a slow start under the previous concession owners, Citadel Capital, TransCentury and Bomi have worked closely with RVR management to help the company make good on its promise to both the governments and people of Kenya and Uganda. Our partnership with TransCentury has been an important part of the progress RVR has made with its turnaround to date; we look forward to continuing to work closely with the team at TransCentury going forward."