Mauritius’ IBL Group joins the shareholding of leading East-African solar operator, Equator Energy

IBL Energy Holdings Ltd (IBL Energy), a fully owned subsidiary of the IBL Group, the largest conglomerate of Mauritius, is the lead investor of a consortium that has signed on Monday 20 March an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Equator Energy Ltd (Equator Energy), a leading commercial and industrial solar operator in East Africa. IBL’s partner in the consortium is STOA, an impact fund created by Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) and Agence Française de Développement (AFD). The completion of the transaction is subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions precedent including the obtention of relevant regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of all legal requirements.

Equator Energy operates the largest commercial and industrial solar power portfolio in East Africa, mainly in Kenya and Uganda, with smaller operations in Zimbabwe, Somalia, Gambia, and South Sudan. They provide fully integrated renewable energy systems, with solutions ranging from simple grid-tied systems to solar-diesel hybrid systems to fully autonomous off-grid systems. Their management and technical teams are headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya and they have maintenance teams throughout Kenya and their other jurisdictions. Since its inception in 2016, Equator Energy has shown strong and sustained growth, with its portfolio currently standing at 35MW of solar plants in operation.

This investment in Equator Energy is in line with IBL’s ‘Beyond Borders’ expansion strategy, which saw the group completing an equity investment into Naivas, the leading supermarket chain in Kenya, and approving (subject to conditions) a further equity investment in Harley’s, one of the leading medical and pharmaceutical distributors in Kenya.

“After acquisitions for our Commercial & Distribution cluster, I am glad that ‘IBL Beyond Borders’ now sees an investment in the energy sector. When we developed our strategy in 2021, we identified renewable energy as a sector presenting significant opportunities to deepen our presence in the African market. Driven by a culture of excellence, IBL Group wishes to propose solutions structured around renewable energy, energy savings and the reuse of waste. As Equator Energy provides simple and integrated solutions in emerging markets where solar energy has added value, this partnership is aligned with our aim to be a pioneer in the energy transition,” said Arnaud Lagesse, Group CEO of IBL.

“We are excited to announce that IBL and STOA are becoming shareholders in Equator Energy. Their expertise, capabilities, and industry experience will bolster Equator Energy’s growth trajectory. With their support, we are confident in our ability to deliver even more innovative solar solutions to our existing base of over 100 customers, as well as to expand our reach to new customers in the future. This investment by IBL and STOA is a testament to their confidence in our team, our customers, and our markets, and we are honoured to have their support,” said Sebastian Noethlichs, CEO and Founder of Equator Energy.

“We are delighted to provide our support to the exceptional growth undertaken by Equator Energy. Within a few years, the company has managed to build a very strong portfolio of operating assets together with an impressive pipeline of very happy customers. Being an impact fund, STOA is very proud to see that our investment will provide the affordable electricity needed to continue the industrialization of our core countries of focus in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, the renewable energy generated will help Kenya and the other countries in their goals to increase their generation capacities with clean electricity,” said Marie-Laure Mazaud, CEO of STOA.