[ACCI-CAVIE] According to consistent African Centre for Competitive Intelligence sources, Gas retailing has been identified as a high-potential segment in Africa and Nigeria where access to energy remains a major challenge. The arrival of new investors in the sector is expected to further boost its growth.
On March 31, 2022, Helios Investment Partners, an Africa-focused private equity firm, announced the sale of a 25% stake in Nigerian natural gas distributor Axxela to Japanese trading house Sojitz.
The amount of the deal was not specified, but Helios had acquired an initial 75 percent stake in Axxela in 2016 for $115.8 million and the rest three years later for $41.5 million.
Charting a course for energy transition
“Helios and Sojitz believe that the energy transition pathway for Africa is achievable, economically viable and fair, through the accelerated development of gas infrastructure that would move away from coal and liquid fuels, eliminate systematic gas flaring and support the increased penetration of renewables by supplementing their intermittent supply with reliable and flexible gas-fired power,” Helios said in a statement.
Sojitz, whose first major equity investment in Africa, said it will boost Axxela’s growth with its expertise in gas and power infrastructure. The company controls several energy distribution facilities in Japan.
Today, Axxela delivers 80 million cubic feet per day of gas to more than 200 industrial customers in Nigeria who have reduced their exposure to more polluting fuels. As part of this, Axxela says it is pleased to have helped reduce its customers’ greenhouse gas emissions by 1.7 million metric tons between 2018 and 2020.