Michelmores has advised the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation (Finnfund) on its substantial senior debt investment into Mobisol GmbH (Mobisol), a German-based solar service provider that provides rent-to-own solar home systems to customers in East Africa. The Michelmores team comprised Partner Joe Whitfield, Head of the Emerging Markets team, and Associate Solicitor Harry Trick. Finnfund’s investment was alongside Essential Capital Consortium B.V. (ECC), a social impact fund managed by Deutsche Bank. ECC were advised by White & Case.
Mobisol, which has subsidiaries in Tanzania and Rwanda, combines solar energy, mobile technology and microfinance to bring clean power to rural households in East Africa where on-grid power supply is not available. Mobisol’s solar home systems, of which over 45,000 have been installed already, provide enough electricity to power bright efficient LED lights, radios, mobile phones, TVs and a variety of further household and consumer appliances. In addition they are powerful enough to run small businesses, thus enabling entrepreneurs to operate in areas they might otherwise have not been able to.
The investment by Finnfund and ECC is intended to finance the growth of the group’s operations in Tanzania and Rwanda and to also allow the group to expand into other East African countries.
Tuomas Suurpää, a Senior Investment Manager at Finnfund who was responsible for the investment, commented:
“Electrification is something that promotes growth of a national economy and entrepreneurship. In many cases it is cheaper to install a solar power system than to expand the electrical grid.”
Harry Trick, an Associate Solicitor in Michelmores’ Legal 500 ranked Emerging Markets team, commented:
“We are delighted to have been able to assist Finnfund on another investment. Large parts of Africa do not have access to reliable distributed power, so innovative solar products like this are an important way to electrify Africa. It is a sector that we are increasingly being asked to advise on and is only likely to get more popular as the market matures”.
For more information on Michelmores’ Emerging Markets practice, please contact Joe Whitfield, Head of the Emerging Markets team, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Harry Trick, an Associate Solicitor in the team, at email@example.com.