Michelmores Advises on Pan-African Housing Fund’s First Investment

Michelmores has advised the Pan-African Housing Fund (PAHF) on its joint venture investment with Africa Reit Limited, a leading Kenyan property developer, to develop an apartment complex in Kikuyu Town, west of Nairobi, Kenya.

PAHF, which completed its first close in December 2012, is a private equity fund set up in response to the ever-increasing housing shortage in Eastern and Southern Africa. This investment, PAHF's first, is a 66-unit middle-income housing development called Westpoint Heights. The development will include a number of innovative green-building features, including solar-powered external lighting, solar water heating, and recycled waste water for landscape irrigation and cleaning.

PAHF is one of two sector-specific funds that are managed by Phatisa, the other being its flagship fund, the African Agriculture Fund (AAF). In total Phatisa manages funds totalling in excess of $285 million. Michelmores provides support on the downstream investment activity of each of the funds.

Based out of Michelmores' London office, corporate partner, Joe Whitfield, led the transaction with assistance from solicitor Harry Trick. Michelmores was supported by Kenyan counsel, Coulson & Harney, represented by Philip Coulson and Wathingira Muthang'ato.

Eton Price, a fund partner and deal team leader at PAHF, commented:

"This deal marked a significant milestone for Phatisa, as it was our first transaction for the Pan African Housing Fund. The conclusion of this deal was the result of many months of groundwork and collaboration between ourselves and Michelmores.  Joe and Harry were critical resources that facilitated our collective objective. 

This deal will enable us to use this platform to increase deployment of funds into our target geographies and sector. We are looking forward to building on the very good working relationship we enjoy with Africa Reit and our respective advisors, and look forward to finally getting our boots dirty."

Joe, previously General Counsel at CDC (formerly the Commonwealth Development Corporation) and who has more than 20 years' experience advising on private equity, M&A and finance institutions in frontier markets, commented:

"We are delighted to have been able to play a part in PAHF's first investment.

There is a severe shortage of good-quality and affordable middle income housing units in East Africa, and projects of this type are critical to fill this gap."