Johannesburg-listed mobile telecommunications group MTN is investing US$75m, or about R750m, in a UK-based fund run Amadeus Capital Partners.
Amadeus says the new fund will invest in “late-stage venture and growth companies, predominantly in mature markets, developing online and mobile applications and services targeted at the rapidly expanding middle classes in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America”.
Some of Amadeus’s existing portfolio companies include Cambridge Broadband Networks, Edgeware and Celltick. With MTN, it wants to focus on technologies that “leapfrog desktop applications”, and services that are intended for users of mobile devices in developing markets.
MTN strategy chief and mergers & acquisitions officer Karel Pienaar says the investment will give the telecoms group exposure to a range of opportunities in online and mobile applications and services relevant to the needs of the emerging middle class”.
“Investment in companies that focus on those technologies that leapfrog current applications fits well with MTN’s focus of driving sustainable growth through data services and related opportunities,” Pienaar says.
Most of the countries Amadeus has identified as potential investment destinations have rapidly growing economies, low government debt and an expanding middle class that is often young and urban, the company says.
This means there is enormous potential for businesses that meet the demands for data and mobile services of these users.
Since its creation in 1997, Amadeus has raised £550m (R8,2bn) for investment and has backed 85 companies in communications technology, clean and medical technology, software, digital media and e-commerce. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media