, LONDON, Jun 24 – Citadel Capital, the equity firm that has taken over management of the troubled Rift Valley Railways was named African Business magazine’s African Business of the Year at a gala awards ceremony held in London on Monday.
The firm won the accolade in a poll of African Business editors, African business executives, and members of the Commonwealth Business Council. Other finalists included South Africa’s De Beers, Kenya’s Safaricom, pan-African bank Ecobank and Kenya’s oils producer Bidco.
“It is truly an honor to have been chosen as African Business of the Year from such a distinguished group of nominees,” said Citadel Capital Chairman and Founder Dr Ahmed Heikal. “Founded little more than five years ago with an initial investment of just $400,000, we stand today as the leading private equity player in Africa.”
With $8.3 billion in investments covering 15 industries spanning 14 countries, Citadel Capital is independently ranked by Private Equity International as the continent’s largest private equity firm. Since its founding in 2004, the firm has generated $2.5 billion in cash returns for shareholders and co-investors on investments of $650 million.
The African Business of the Year award is given annually to a company that has demonstrated outstanding financial performance and significant development of new market segments, coupled with “innovative working techniques and employment of staff from the communities in which it operates.” Winners must have high standards of good corporate citizenship and have contributed significantly to changing the perceptions of Africa in global markets.
Citadel Capital seeks out national companies with the potential to become regional champions, then deploys the human and monetary capital needed to make that transformation happen. Over the past 12 months, the firm has closed a significant number of transactions in what we believe will be excellent vintage years for private equity investing.”
Omar Ben Yedder, Associate Group Publisher of African Business magazine, the organiser of the event said: “The Awards are even more significant this year, as it takes place during the World Cup season, and thus resonates with the new optimism of Africa as a continent capable of realising the opportunities that abound there.”
Dr Mohan Kaul, CEO of the CBC, stressed the importance of these Awards: “At a time of economic turmoil and uncertainty, awards such as these become even more important. The African Business Awards contribute to the reappraisal of Africa’s economic potential through a competition that recognises business innovation and achievement, and offers role models for aspiring entrepreneurs.”
IC Publications holds two annual awards ceremonies. The next one will be the African Banker Awards which will coincide with the IMF-World Bank meetings, which this year will take place on the 8th October 2010 in Washington.