Investec Asset Management invests in Mobisol

By Janice Roberts

Investec Asset Management, through its African private equity capability, has acquired a significant shareholding in Mobisol, a leading and rapidly-growing provider of off-grid solar home systems (SHS) in Africa.

The deal will see Investec Asset Management partner with Mobisol, existing shareholders and DEG with the aim of accelerating the company’s growth in its existing markets and to support its expansion into new markets in Africa. Already a well-established player in Tanzania and Rwanda, Mobisol is now entering the Kenyan market. DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbh, who has been a shareholder since 2015 and who has been accompanying Mobisol GmbH through different growth phases, further increased their shareholding in the company as part of the transaction.

The Berlin-headquartered company offers low-income African households quality solar home systems that are a clean, safe and affordable alternative to fossil fuels. Mobisol systems are designed specifically for the African market and are powerful enough to meet the energy needs of a typical off-grid African household. They are able to power lighting, radios and stereos, mobile phone charging, TVs, and other appliances such as irons, fridges and ventilators.

A three-year payment plan makes the systems affordable, with entry-level systems costing approximately the same on a daily basis as the typical customer spends on kerosene, candles, batteries and mobile phone charging prior to purchasing a Mobisol SHS. A significant proportion of customers are also able to generate income from their SHS, for example by providing a mobile phone charging service or by running productive electrical equipment in businesses, such as hair clippers in barber shops. The use of innovative mobile technology such as mobile money, allows customer payments and remote system monitoring to be carried out in a cost and time-efficient manner.

“Our partnership with Investec Asset Management marks an important milestone in the growth history of Mobisol. The investment and partnership with Investec Asset Management will allow Mobisol to concentrate on scaling and better serving our customers while seeking to innovate and reinforce our unique competitive edge.” said Thomas Gottschalk, Founder and CEO of Mobisol.

Commenting on the deal, Mark Jennings, Investment Principal in Private Equity at Investec Asset Management, said: “We are delighted to partner with Mobisol’s founder-management. Mobisol has established itself as a leading provider of off-grid solar home systems in Africa and we are looking forward to supporting the dynamic team at Mobisol in driving the next phase of the company’s growth and development.”

Since inception Mobisol has installed over 60,000[1] solar home systems in Tanzania and Rwanda, enabling some 300,000 people to access clean, affordable and reliable solar energy. Mobisol is a major driver of rural development and job creation in East Africa, stimulating economic and social development, particularly for women, while simultaneously contributing to global environmental protection. With over 600 million people in Africa not connected to the grid, Mobisol’s high-quality off-grid solar systems for households and small businesses are substituting the unavailable or poor grid while offering an attractive and highly scalable solution to addressing the energy needs of Africa.

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