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Emerging Capital Partners Invests $47.3 Million in North African Personal Care Company
Date:5/21/2008

Societe d'Articles Hygieniques to develop additional production facilities,

increase exports

WASHINGTON, May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), an international private equity firm focused on investing across the African continent, today announced a U.S. $47.3 million investment in Societe d'Articles Hygieniques (SAH), Tunisia's leading personal care company and producer of absorbent hygiene products. The funds will be used to expand operations in SAH's existing North African markets, as well as to enter into new markets.

"ECP believes SAH is poised for continued strong growth thanks to improving standards of living in the North African market and changes in consumer habits that directly benefit hygiene and personal care products," said Tom Gibian, chief executive officer of ECP. "The company already has strong brand recognition, a coherent product line, and competitive production costs. Combined with the region's improving macro fundamentals, SAH is well positioned to expand throughout North Africa."

Over the past five years, SAH's revenue has grown in excess of 30 percent a year, and the company has more than doubled its return on equity. The company - which produces baby care, feminine care, incontinence care, and related paper products under the "Lilas" brand - intends to expand its product range in Tunisia, grow its market share in Algeria and Libya, and accelerate its development in Mauritania and sub-Saharan Africa.

"SAH is an established player in Tunisia and has an excellent track record of expanding into new markets and products," said Vincent Le Guennou, executive vice president of ECP. "The company has formed impressive distribution networks and has adapted its packaging to fit its various markets. This has enabled SAH's export business to grow to more than 40 percent of overall sales, which we view as a positive indicator for future success."

The investment in SAH was made through a consortium of two ECP managed funds: ECP Africa Fund II and the ECP MENA Growth Fund. ECP Africa Fund II was established in December 2005 to capitalize on the numerous investment opportunities throughout Africa in sectors such as telecom, natural resources, financial services, agribusiness, transportation, and power and water. The ECP MENA Growth Fund was established in September 2007 to make growth equity investments in the Middle East and North Africa regions.

ABOUT ECP

Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) is the first private equity firm to raise more than U.S. $1.2 billion to invest in companies across the African continent. The ECP team has an eight-year track record of pan-African investing through six successful funds. The firm's investment strategy is focused on delivering consistently above-market returns to investors that are uncorrelated to the U.S. and other global economies. For more information, please see http://www.ecpinvestments.com.


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SOURCE Emerging Capital Partners
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