ECP buys stake in Togo commercial bank

The Africa-focused firm has purchased $28m in common shares and convertible notes of West African lender Financial BC.

Private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners has bought a $28 million minority stake in Togo-based commercial bank Financial BC (FBC).

FBC will utilize the fresh capital to expand its presence in central and western Africa, according to a statement from ECP. The West African bank provides consumer and institutional banking services in Togo, Benin, Gabon, Chad and Guinea, and has recently initiated a microfinance unit through its affiliates.

The bank also is seeking to enter the corporate lender sector while offering non-credit related products like ATMs, remittances and money transfers.

Founded in 1988, FBC currently employs more than 400 and operates approximately 20 branches. The bank has a total asset base of over $350 million, according to the statement.

The investment is ECP’s eighth in the African financial services sector. In June, the firm announced that it had purchased $15 million in convertible bonds and common shares in microlender Blue Financial, which provides credit services in 10 sub-Saharan African countries.

Other ECP financial services portfolio companies include Mauritanian banking group BACIM Bank, Nigeria-based Continental Reinsurance, banking group African Financial Holdings and Nigeria-based Intercontinental Bank, which recently launched its first UK branch.

In 2006, ECP exited West and Central African banking group Ecobank, yielding a return of 4.4X committed capital for the firm’s West Africa Growth Fund, according to the firm’s website.

Washington DC-based ECP is currently raising a $1 billion pan-African vehicle, according to a source familiar with the fund.