Gowling WLG advises InfraCo Africa on decentralised energy solutions provider Bboxx and Zembo Motorcycles investments
26th May 2022
Gowling WLG has advised InfraCo Africa on two six-figure investments; one into Bboxx , to increase the provision of clean, reliable, and affordable energy and infrastructure solutions to underserved communities in Africa, and one into Zembo, to increase the availability of emissions free electric motorcycle taxis in Uganda.
Our Corporate Energy team advised InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), over an agreement to lend up to $15 million, by way of convertible loan notes, to UK-registered next generation utility company Bboxx for its Africa-focussed off-grid solar business. The deal marks InfraCo Africa’s first involvement in the solar home system (SHS) industry, and supports Bboxx’s acceleration in existing and new markets across sub-Saharan Africa, to provide clean energy solutions to millions of people in the region.
InfraCo Africa’s investment follows an earlier fundraising by Bboxx in 2019 from a consortium of investors, including Mitsubishi Corporation, which took a 20% stake in the company.
The deal follows earlier advice to InfraCo Africa on a combined investment (also by way of convertible loan notes) of over €3 million, together with a consortium including DOB Equity and Mobility 54, into Zembo, the French parent company of Zembo Motorcycles SMC Ltd, to drive the growth and sustainability of the group’s electric motorcycle business in Kampala, Uganda.
The funding is expected to support Zembo, which enables drivers to buy electric motorcycle taxis or to pay for them on a lease-to-own basis, in increasing the number of electric motorcycles on the road by approximately 2,000. The investment will also support in the development of an additional 60 Zembo charging and battery swapping stations across the city, to further aid in reducing emissions in Uganda, whose national grid is fuelled by 92% renewable energy.
Partners Gareth Baker and Alasdair McKenzie led on the deals, alongside a combined team of principal associate Sian Dewing, senior associates Olivia Robertson and Sarina Mann, associate Hannah Gough, and trainee solicitor Eleanor Wright. Paris based partners Danhoe Reddy-Girard (corporate) and Gaelle Le Breton (employment) also supported on the Zembo investment.
Gareth Baker, co-head of Gowling WLG’s Energy Group (UK) said: “We are thrilled to have supported the InfraCo Africa team on each of these financings. The funding to both Bboxx and Zembo will enable millions in sub-Saharan Africa to access further clean energy solutions and pollution free transport and we’re proud that the Gowling WLG team has played a small role in supporting sustainable development.”
Gowling WLG’s multi-disciplinary Energy team has a market-leading reputation, operating seamlessly around the globe. These latest deals continue the firm’s leading renewable investment work, including recent advisory to Island Green Power and its founders on a new investment deal, HydrogenOne on its investment in Gen2, and to PIDG companies, such as GuarantCo, on a $40 million cross-border financing in support of sustainable infrastructure in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Investing in off-grid clean energy solutions
Bboxx is a next generation utility ramping up the provision of clean, reliable, and affordable energy access to underserved communities in Africa. InfraCo Africa’s support will enable Bboxx’s acceleration in existing and new markets across sub-Saharan Africa to provide clean energy solutions to hundreds of thousands of people in the region.