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South African fund buys into Kenyan data firm

By Frankline Sunday | November 26th 2020

A South African investment fund Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund (PRIF) has acquired a 20 per cent stake in a Kenyan data storage firm, Icolo Ltd.

The move will see the firm expand its operations across the country.

In a notice in the Kenya Gazette last week, the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) said it had given nod to the multi-billion deal that first came into the limelight December last year. 

“It is notified for general information that in exercise of the powers conferred upon the Competition Authority by section 46 of the Competition Act, the CAK has authorised the proposed transaction as set out herein,” said the regulator in the gazette notice in part. 

The transactions will see PRIF Africa Holdings Ltd acquire 20 per cent stake of the issued shares with controlling rights in Icolo Ltd. The value of the deal is yet to be disclosed.  

Icolo Ltd provides carrier-neutral data storage for telecoms, internet service providers (ISPs), cloud providers and financial clients. The firm last year completed and launched its first data centre, Mombasa One. It is currently constructing a second one in Nairobi dubbed NBO1. 

Regional market

The firm has been enjoying traction in the regional market as demand for data warehousing spikes, with more entities in both the private and public sectors taking their operations online. 

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The deal will see European technology provider Interxion, an early investor in Icolo work with PRIF in a strategic partnership to expand operations across sub-Saharan Africa. 

“Since Interxion’s initial investment in March 2016, Icolo has delivered strong growth and has established itself as a leading African carrier and cloud-neutral data centre operator,” said Interxion in a statement last December announcing the deal. 

“With two data centres in Kenya currently in operation, Icolo is experiencing strong demand from cloud and content platforms and across the enterprise segment,” said the company’s statement in part. 

“Acquisitions of 25,000 square miles of land for further expansion of Icolo’s data centre footprint are in progress in both Mombasa and Nairobi, with the associated total capacity for Icolo in Kenya expected to grow to approximately 20 megawatts.”   

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