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LAGOS (Capital Markets in Africa) – Synergy Private Equity Fund (SPEF) is pleased to announce the completion of its investment in Northstar Finance Services Limited (Northstar), a financial services platform providing solutions across the financial service value chain in select countries across West Africa. Northstar is building a portfolio of assets in key segments of the financial sector with the aim to be the leading personal finance brand in West Africa. The investment in Northstar is SPEF’s ninth investment.
The management is led by Obafemi Alonge and Bolanle Oduyale who collectively have about 45 years of commercial, corporate and transaction banking experience working as senior executives with Standard Chartered Bank (SCB).
Prior to Northstar, Femi was an Executive Director & Head of Corporate and Institutional Clients at Standard Chartered Bank in Tanzania. Bola Oduyale previously managed SCB’s non-presence African countries (African countries without an SCB physical presence) and developed key relationships with governments, businesses, and entrepreneurs in those countries. Bola has hands-on experience in credit risk assessment/rating and monitoring, compliance, commercial banking and retail lending.
With this investment, Northstar has acquired the following interests:
Safetrust Nigeria, one of the big five mortgage banks in Nigeria. With the Northstar’s investment, Safetrust is well positioned to grow its footprint from a sub-national mortgage bank to a national bank in Nigeria.
Northstar Home Finance, one of only two mortgage banks in the country, which commenced operations on April 1 2017 and is set to revolutionalize the Ghanaian mortgage banking sector.
Avance Insurance Co. Ltd, a life assurance company to provide innovative life insurance and savings products to the rapidly growing Ghanaian middle class and to provide life and property insurance to customers of Northstar Home Finance.
Ping Express Inc., one of the 10 Money Transfer Operators (MTOs) recently licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Ping Express is a Fintech company that simplifies the international money transfer ecosystem by offering extreme convenience and enabling instant payment to beneficiaries.
In rounding up its first phase of acquisitions, Northstar acquired majority ownership of Fast Credit Limited, a payroll lending business in Nigeria which will be franchised in Ghana and across West Africa.
Commenting on Northstar’s investments, Mr. Obafemi Alonge, CEO of Northstar Finance Services Ltd, said “The investment by Synergy Private Equity Fund (SPEF) has enabled Northstar fund the acquisition of strategic assets in key segments of the industry in line with its corporate vision. The company currently holds a majority stake in Safetrust Mortgage Bank, Ping Express Money Transfer Services and Fast Credit Limited (Microfinance) all in Nigeria. It is also a majority owner of Northstar Home Finance Limited Ghana (a mortgage bank) and Avance Life Assurance Company, Ghana. The investment and support of SPEF will enable the company to establish a leadership position as the preferred personal finance institution in West Africa.”
Speaking on the successful completion of this investment, Akintoye Akindele, Partner, Synergy Capital Managers, stated that he is “extremely excited about the opportunity to invest in the Northstar financial platform and about the immense growth opportunities in West Africa and the wider middle Africa region. With this investment, we are confident that Northstar can become the personal finance institution of choice in the region. The complement of businesses and products offers a unique value proposition for Northstar’s customers that would be difficult to replicate. We enthusiastically share in Northstar’s vision of improving the lives of the average West African by providing access to finance, improving the mobility of money, encouraging savings, and fostering a personal risk management culture amongst West Africans.”
The advisers on the deal include Udo Udoma & Belo Osagie, Banwo & Ighodalo on Legal, PWC on Financials and Tax due diligence.