Surfline Communications to get $15m boost

By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana

Surfline Communications, Ghana’s leading 4G LTE network operator, is expected to receive an investment capital injection of $15m from DEG - Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (“DEG”) through a leading South African mezzanine debt provider Vantage Capital to expand its operations across Ghana. The investment capital into Surfline operations forms part of a $60m fund contributed by DEG - Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (“DEG”) and four other European investors to Vantage’s third fund. DEG’s commitment to Fund III is $20m.

In a statement released on Tuesday it disclosed that the funds committed by DEG to Surfline will be used for the on-going expansion of the company’s 4G LTE network in Ghana as well as to enhance its product distribution and marketing capabilities.

It said 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 pricing that is competitive with existing internet service providers. The network achieved an extremely successful commercial launch in August 2014 and is experiencing tremendous growth in its customer base. Surfline was recently nominated for "Breakthrough LTE Entrant" at AfricaCom in South Africa and won "Top Emerging Brand" at the Top Brands Awards in Ghana. The investment in Surfline by Vantage and DEG was nominated by Dealmakers Magazine for “Private Equity Catalyst Deal of the Year.”

The Director Equity & Mezzanine for Africa and Latin America, Gunnar Stork believe that the investment in Surfline will contribute to improve internet connectivity in Ghana and as such be an important factor to bridge the digital divide.

The statement quoted the Managing Partner at Vantage Colin Rezek as saying “We are extremely pleased to receive the strong endorsement of DEG for our third mezzanine fund, which will employ a pan-African investment approach to focus on high-growth markets such as Ghana, Nigeria, the East African Community members and some of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. We also welcome DEG as a co-investor in Surfline, one of the most exciting deals out of the over 600 investment opportunities we have reviewed in the past five years.”

 DEG joins other investors that have already committed funds to Vantage, including a major South African pension fund and foreign investors such as the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (“SIFEM”) which is advised by Obviam. 

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