Axxela leverages on Sojitz’s expertise to accelerate business expansion

Olubunmi Martins

As a strategy to enhance its growth ambitions Axxela Group,the largest private sector gas distributor in Nigeria, has offered Japanese infrastructure investor, Sojitz Corporation 25 percent stake. The offer is seen as a move by Axxela to leverage on Japanese company’s expertise in developing gas and power infrastructure projects and providing lower-carbon energy solutions to industrial customers globally.

While Hellos Investment, the sole principal investor at Axxela, retains 75% controlling interest in the gas & power portfolio company, EnergyDay checks revealed that  Sojitz is bringing its deep expertise in the gas and power infrastructure sector to Africa. The Japanese conglomerate has been involved in the development of gas distribution networks, LNG terminals and power plants globally.

Masakazu Hashimoto, COO of Infrastructure & Healthcare Division at Sojitz Corporation said the company’s  strategic investment into the  Axxela Group, has opened the door for Japan’s entry into a gas downstream market in Africa where huge growth potential is expected.

Africa,  according to Masakazu, is the largest frontier in the 21st century and this transaction embodies our “market-oriented initiative” and “co-creation and sharing methodologies” and begins a partnership between the internationally reputable fund Helios and Sojitz.

He said, “We expect that this collaboration will create additional value to Axxela and their stakeholders by way of a disciplined investment while Environmental Sustainable Goals are fully addressed.”`

Mr. Bolaji Osunsanya, CEO of Axxela Limited, while receiving Sojitz from the Axxela family, revealed that the partnership is a testament of continued investor confidence in the business of his company.

He said, “It also further affirms our position not only as a market leader, but as a reputable partner enabling industrialisation across Africa. With Sojitz onboard, our capacity is stronger, and we are better situated to attract the requisite capital to continue executing our development-oriented projects.”

Ogbemi Ofuya, Partner at Helios Investment Partners, commented, “We feel privileged to enter into this partnership with Sojitz to drive further growth of Axxela’s business. This transaction demonstrates the value of our strategy to build market-leading, strategically important businesses which become highly sought-after by global investors seeking to enter Africa or grow their presence on the continent.

“Sojitz Corporation is a world-class energy infrastructure investor and their investment represents the first Japanese strategic investment in a downstream gas distribution business in Africa. We look forward to working together to accelerate energy access for industrial growth and decarbonisation across Africa.”

Sojitz Corporation described its debut to the Nigerian market as its  “first significant equity investment in Africa, representing its growth ambitions on the continent. It also serves as a blueprint for future collaboration in Africa between Helios and Sojitz across a range of sectors.”

As like-minded shareholders, Helios and Sojitz expect to accelerate further growth of Axxela’s business by leveraging Sojitz’s expertise in developing gas and power infrastructure projects and providing low carbon energy solutions to industrial customers globally”

“West Africa’s abundant gas resources, for instance,  have for decades served the energy requirements of Europe and Asia through LNG exports, with modest growth in regional consumption due to the dearth of processing and distribution infrastructure to connect with market demand.”

Helios and Sojitz together with the Axxela Group said they share a common vision on actionable plans for a smooth energy transition pathway for Africa which can be achieved through  gas infrastructures across the continent.

Although Nigeria is a major market hub for natural gas development in Africa with aspirations to grow reserves to 600 trillion cubic feet, over time these targets are constrained by inadequate gas pipeline infrastructures and asset safety issues.

EnergyDay  gathered that  the intensive efforts by industry stakeholders to build investor’s confidence in the country’s gas economy, may well be on the verge of success.