Africa-focused private equity firm Amethis said Tuesday it has made its second investment from the new fund that invests in North Africa and part of the Middle East.
Amethis MENA Fund II has picked up a minority stake in Tarjama, a language technology and services provider in the Middle East and North Africa. Neither Amethis nor Tarjama disclosed the deal value.
Tarjama was founded in 2008 by Jordanian entrepreneur Nour Al Hassan. It provides language and localization needs to companies across the MENA region. The company has developed proprietary language technology products including an Arabic-focused machine translation engine as well as Cleverso, its translation management system.
Amethis said its investment in Tarjama will support the company in realizing its AI technology roadmap and in executing an organic and inorganic growth strategy across the region. Toufic Khoueiry led the transaction for Amethis.
“We’re eager for this next phase of growth where we’ll significantly develop our current product portfolio, create new customer-focused products, and expand our presence to global markets,” said Nour Al Hassan, Tarjama’s founder and CEO.
Amethis founding partner Laurent Demey said Amethis is backing not only a market leader in the MENA localization market but also “a high-growth woman-led SME” that has already achieved gender parity.
Dechert LLP acted as legal advisor to Nour Al Hassan and Tarjama while Hourani & Partners acted as legal advisor to Amethis. PwC and Slator provided financial, tax, and commercial due diligence to Amethis.
Amethis fund, other bets
Amethis was created nine years ago. The new fund is Amethis’ second SME MENA fund and fifth investment vehicle overall. The fund’s final closing is scheduled for July 2022.
The PE firm marked the first close of Amethis MENA Fund II at $101 million (€85 million). The fund will make majority and minority investments in the range of €5-15 million in small- and medium-sized enterprises in Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan.
The new fund is aiming to scoop up €150 million, twice the sum it is managing under the regional Amethis Maghreb Fund I.
The new fund previously invested in Magriser, a distributor of micro-irrigation systems in Morocco.
Amethis had entered Morocco by taking over the management of the fund named Capital North Africa Fund II in 2018. This vehicle was rechristened as Amethis Maghreb Fund I, and focuses on North Africa.
The PE firm recently expanded its top team by bringing in Nicolas Manardo as a partner, taking the total partner count to seven. He will be in charge of developing a new fund focused on supporting French and European SMEs expanding to Africa by making them benefit from synergies with Amethis’s African teams and portfolio.