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DAI Magister advises Equator Energy in IBL Energy and STOA majority stake acquisition

DAI Magister has announced its latest successful deal, advising Equator Energy Ltd (Equator Energy), as IBL Energy Holdings Ltd (IBL Energy) and STOA signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in East Africa’s leading commercial and industrial solar operator, subject to the satisfaction of legal requirements and regulatory approval.

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. It provides fully integrated renewable energy systems, with solutions ranging from simple grid-tied systems to solar-diesel hybrid systems. Its management and technical teams are headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya and it has maintenance teams throughout Kenya and their other jurisdictions. The company was founded by renewable energy entrepreneurs Sebastian and Margita Noethlichs with the backing of Maris Limited, an Africa focused investment company.

Julien Deconinck, Managing Director at DAI Magister, said, “It’s extremely exciting to be part of a deal between three of the African energy sector’s most ambitious incumbents, in Equator Energy, IBL Energy and STOA. The acquisition allows Equator Energy to accelerate the deployment of solar power in East Africa, while facilitating its expansion across the continent. This growth will be supported by the extensive sector-specific knowledge IBL Energy and STOA bring to the table.”

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 and over 50MW signed and the ambition to reach 300MW by 2030.

This is the first time IBL Energy, a fully owned subsidiary of the listed IBL Group, and STOA, an energy and infrastructure impact fund created by Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) and Agence Française de Développement (AFD), have completed a deal as partners, with both committed to driving Africa’s burgeoning energy sector.

Sebastian Noethlichs, CEO and Founder of Equator Energy, said, “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.”

Charlie Tryon, CEO of Maris, said, “We are delighted for IBL and STOA to lead Equator Energy through its next phase of growth. Their experience and capacity will allow the company to reach new heights and markets and cement its leading position in the C&I solar sector in Africa.”

Arnaud Lagesse, Group CEO of IBL, said, “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.”

Marie-Laure Mazaud, CEO of STOA, said, “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 industrialisation of our core countries of focus in sub-Sahara 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.”

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