NIGERIA: FinnFund and Norfund invest $5 million in Starsight for off grid

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NIGERIA: FinnFund and Norfund invest $5 million in Starsight for off grid©Aleks Kend/Shutterstock

FinnFund, a Finnish development finance company, and Norfund, a Norwegian government private equity firm, have recently invested $5 million in Starsight Power Utility, a Nigerian company that installs hybrid off-grid systems for factories and commercial operations.

The Nigerian company Starsight Power Utility has obtained financing for the development of its activities. It is a €5 million loan from FinnFund, a Finnish financial institution targeting private companies in developing countries and Norfund, a Norwegian government private equity firm.

With this new financing, the company is strengthening its position in the market for the supply of hybrid off-grid vehicles. In practical terms, it provides solar panel installations and diesel-powered emergency generators to ensure backup after sunset. The electricity produced by these facilities is used to power various factories and businesses in Nigeria.

The project is a solution that addresses the difficulties faced by many companies in this West African country. “Nigeria regularly suffers from power interruptions and commercial and industrial companies are particularly dependent on diesel generators,” says Eero Pekkanen, Finnfund’s Investment Director. However, diesel generators, even if only used in conjunction with them, are highly emitting fine particles and CO2, which is detrimental to health and climate….

A growing number of investors in a booming market

The number of companies investing in off grid in Nigeria is increasing exponentially. A few months ago, Nigerian Breweries Plc (NB), a large brewing company, had already decided to collaborate with Crossboundary Energy to supply an off-grid to its Ibadan plant in the southeast of the country.

With the new financing from FinnFund and Norfund, Starsight aims to establish itself in this flourishing market that is of increasing interest to off-grid companies. “We are pleased to partner with Finnfund and Norfund in our attempt to improve energy reliability, cost savings and environmental benefits for energy consumers in Nigerian businesses and industries,” said Damilola Agbaje, Director of Starsight. The company says it has identified 1,000 sites where it can take advantage of the market.

No wonder then that FinnFund and Norfund are not the only investment funds interested in the company. Several other players have taken an interest in Starsight’s capital. One example is the African Infrastructure Investment Fund 3 (AIIF3), a subsidiary of African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), a private equity fund manager dedicated to infrastructure development in Africa. It has partnered to invest $30 million with Helios Investment Partners, a private investment company based in London, United Kingdom.

Jean Marie Takouleu

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