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HarbourVest, Coller stake South African spin-out

The duo recently helped former Barclays captive Absa Capital to go independent in South Africa's largest-ever secondaries deal.

A HarbourVest Partners-led consortium including Coller Capital helped fund the independence of Barclays Africa Group’s (previously Absa Bank’s) former captive, Absa Capital Private Equity.

Going forward the firm will be known as Rockwood Private Equity.

The investors purchased Barclay’s entire 73.7 percent interest in Absa Capital Private Equity Fund I, a fully invested 2008-vintage fund focused on industrials in Subsaharan Africa, according to a statement. The fund had a net asset value of ZAR2.3 billion ($210 million) as of 31 December 2012.

The fund’s five portfolio companies include household furniture producer Bravo Group; waste management company EnviroServ; prefab manufacturer Kwikspace; plastic manufacturer Safripol; and catering and facilities management company Tsebo.

[quote]This is the largest transaction concluded in South Africa’s secondary market and is an endorsement of the South African and broader African private equity markets by global players[/quote]

Financial details were not disclosed for the transaction, however parties involved refer to it as the region’s largest-ever secondaries deal.

“This is the largest transaction concluded in South Africa’s secondary market and is an endorsement of the South African and broader African private equity markets by global players, HarbourVest and Coller Capital,” Lance Roderick, Investment Funds practice head at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa, said in a statement.

It was unclear at press time whether or not the investor group also made a specific commitment to any future Rockwood fund.

Coller Capital closed its sixth secondaries fund, Coller International Partners VI in 2012 with capital commitments of $5.5 billion from nearly 200 institutional investors.

HarbourVest  held its final close for it latest secondaries vehicle, Dover VIII, on $3.6 billion in July 2013.

Barclays Africa was co-advised on financial matters by Absa Corporate and Investment Banking and Deutsche Bank, while Norton Rose Fulbright  advised on legal issues.

HarbourVest was advised on legal issues by Debevoise & Plimpton, and Bowman Gilfillan for domestic legal issues in South Africa.

This is not the first Barclays-related private equity spin out; in November 2011 its UK-based private equity arm became Equistone Partners after a long-expected move to independence.