Vantage Mezzanine, Africa’s leading mezzanine debt provider, today announced it had concluded a transaction with Surfline Communications to provide $30 million (R330 million) of expansion capital to the company together with a fund co-investor.
The funds will be used for the on-going expansion of Surfline’s 4G LTE network in Ghana as well as to grow its product distribution and marketing network. By deploying the first 4G LTE mobile network in Ghana, Surfline is able to offer high-speed internet connectivity (up to 10 times faster than the average speeds offered by the existing mobile network operators) at rates that are competitive with existing internet service providers. Because the Surfline network does not rely on the limited fixed line telecommunications infrastructure in Ghana, the company is able to rapidly roll-out its services across its coverage area.
Surfline was established to provide wireless broadband and related services to the Ghanaian market, including meeting the emergent and largely unfulfilled data needs of Ghana’s businesses, government agencies, professional and academic communities and residential users. The network achieved a very successful commercial launch in August 2014 and is experiencing tremendous growth in its customer base, in both the consumer and corporate/enterprise segments. Just two weeks ago, Surfline was shortlisted for the award of “Breakthrough LTE Development” category by the Africa Communications Awards for its successful deployment of Ghana’s first 4G LTE network. John Taylor, Surfline’s Executive Chairman, has also been listed in the 2014 World Finance 100, which celebrates 100 individuals who have reached the pinnacle of achievement in their field of expertise.
John Taylor said, “Vantage provided us with growth capital in a shareholder-friendly structure that we required to expand the business by supplementing the existing financing in place.”
Yaw Keteku, Associate Partner at Vantage leading their investment activities in Ghana, said “Under John Taylor’s visionary leadership, Surfline has assembled a team of highly-skilled professionals and technical partners who have built a first class communication network to meet Ghana’s ever-growing data demand. We have developed a close working relationship with the Surfline team and we look forward to supporting the business as it grows.”
Luc Albinski, Managing Partner at Vantage, added “We are delighted to announce that we have made our third investment outside of South Africa. Over the last five years, Vantage has reviewed over 600 investment opportunities and we consider Surfline to be one of the most exciting deals we have seen.” The investment in Surfline follows Vantage’s pan-African strategy of focusing on high-growth African markets such as Ghana, Nigeria, the East African Community members and some of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.
Surfline is Vantage’s second investment in Ghana after its $18.5 million (R204 million) commitment to Genser Energy, an independent power producer that is currently commissioning a 30 megawatt power plant, which is expected to come on-line shortly. Mutle Mogase, Vantage’s Chairman, said “Vantage, with the support of its investors, is contributing almost $50 million (R550 million) towards the improvement of infrastructure in Ghana by supporting the rollout of a broadband network and new power generation projects. The developmental multiplier effect of increased power generation capacity and high-speed internet will drive further economic growth in the country.”
Surfline is the eleventh mezzanine transaction in Vantage’s second fund, of which more than 80% of available funds have been invested. More than half of the capital deployed has gone into growth projects such as Surfline. Vantage has commenced the raising of its third mezzanine fund, which is targeted to close by the first quarter of 2015 at $250 million (R2.75 billion).