Michael Chudi Ejekam Shares Insights on $1Billion Longer-Life Private Equity

Michael Chudi Ejekam, commercial real estate expert shares his insights on the recent Wall Street Journal article on the Atlas Partners Longer-Life Private Equity Fund which raised one billion dollars.

New York, NY, United States – May 26, 2016 /MarketersMedia/ —

Michael Chudi Ejekam, an expert private equity investor, provides insight on the emergence of longer-life private equity funds such as Altas.

In a recent article printed in the Wall Street Journal by Chris Cummings, it was reported that the emergence of longer-life private equity funds such as Altas recently hit a new benchmark by raising one billion dollars. Altas as well as other powerful groups, such as Blackstone and Carlyle, are working on similar longer-life funds. Longer-life PE funds allow managers to hold each investment for far longer than the typical 5-year hold period per investment and typical 10-year total fund life. In the Altas case, each investment can be held up to a whopping 17 years.

The typical “medium life” PE model has proven to be highly successful with attractive risk-adjusted returns, however, Michael Chudi Ejekam believes the model can be optimized, particularly in emerging market like Africa. “Following my several years of PE investing in sub-Saharan Africa, I am convinced that longer term life funds would be an improvement on the PE model for emerging markets such as Nigeria” Michael Chudi Ejekam explains.

“When a PE fund is compelled to exit after a 5-year hold period, though the returns may achieve certainly attractive 25+% gross IRR or 2.5 to 3 times multiple on equity invested, I believe tremendous additional value may be left on the table.” The expert demonstrated his point by saying, “Originating, executing and investment managing attractive investments is a challenging process – why be forced to sell/exit a highly attractive investment after only 5 years, only to be saddled with pressure to find another outstanding deal to originate to start the process over again?”

Of course, some other models have emerged to address the standard PE model challenges. For example, in the case when an arm of a PE fund family invests in greenfield deals seeking “opportunistic” higher returns, and the completed projects are transferred to “core” vehicles of the same fund family which are seeking lower, more stable, longer term returns. “It could be more powerful and efficient to have one fund vehicle simply hold the investment for the longer term”, said Michael Chudi Ejekam. This is especially important in emerging markets, where the deal process is more challenging and deals could take years to originate and close in the first place. There is also increasing investor interest and PE capital raised for Africa for example, therefore deals have become more competitive and could take years to originate and close. “After so much heavy lifting, why sell after only 5 years?” he asked. “I have been involved in a few highly successful full-cycle investments and exits – though the returns were highly rewarding and the possible carried interest/profit distributions exiting, the reality is that excessive additional upside was surrendered to the new owners.”

Charlie Munger, one of Warren Buffet’s longest serving colleagues is quoted as saying: “The ‘know-nothing’ investor should practice diversification, but it is crazy if you are an expert. The goal of investment is to find situations where it is safe not to diversify. If you only put 20% into the opportunity of a lifetime, you are not being rational.”

“Why sell after only 5 years if you are already enmeshed within a great investment?” Michael Chu’di Ejekam continued. “Part of the answer lies in the reality that PE funds need to demonstrate exits/returns to potential Limited Partners (LPs) in order to raise fresh investment funds, and LPs are accustomed to the well-defined and tested cookie-cutter PE “medium life” model.” Of course, there is a desire to exit to realize profits so that carried interest distributions can be made – the perfectly reasonable lifeblood of private equity, from which Ejekam has benefited. Thankfully, there are other acceptable avenues to achieve this objective. According to the finance whiz, longer-life PE funds would be an improvement for for emerging markets such as Africa. He thinks it would be helpful if more potential LPs bought into the concept and support the investment strategies of managers with longer-term views.

Mr. Ejekam offered a few closing remarks. “The most successful entrepreneurs and investors in emerging markets such as Africa, hold longer term views. They do not think in 5-year chunks. They think in terms of decades. This is how to generate outsized returns.”

About Michael Chudi Ejekam

Michael Chudi Ejekam is an honors graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a BSc in Economics, with a concentration in Finance. His early days were spent on Wall Street, as an investment banker for Merrill Lynch, after which he moved into private real estate investments in New York, and then onto work with Nigeria’s Actis. During his seven-year tenure as their Director Real Estate for West Africa, he became known as a leader in the “retail revolution,” helping to bring multiple million-dollar malls into underserved areas throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information about us, please visit http://michaelejekamblog.com/

Michael Chudi Ejekam Comments on Resilience of Shoprite’s Earnings in Nigeria

Michael Chudi Ejekam, Expert Retail Developer, Comments on Shoprite’s strategy to be successful in Nigeria’s emerging market.

New York, NY, United states – May 3, 2016 /PressCable/ —

Chudi Ejekam, a recognized authority in retail real estate investment, comments on the resilience of Shoprite’s Nigeria earnings despite foreign exchange controls and a sharp drop in crude oil prices. Shoprite is Nigeria’s largest hypermarket by sales volume.

According to the Bloomberg article, derived from Shoprite Holdings half year financial results for the period ending Dec 31st 2015: “Nigeria showed healthy sales growth despite a slump in the price of crude oil and foreign exchange controls”, Basson said.

The retailer plans to open six Nigerian stores by December, adding to the 16 currently trading, and will also set up a distribution center in Lagos in the next couple of months to improve product availability. The Nigerian government depends on crude oil for over 70% of its revenues and over 90% of its foreign exchange earnings – therefore; the steep drop in crude oil prices had dealt a major blow to the country’s foreign reserves and had put the Naira under great pressure versus the U.S. dollar.

As Michael Chudi Ejekam explains, “as a countermeasure, beginning in June 2015, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced a ban on the ability to access foreign exchange via the official exchange rate to purchase 41 items. The CBN also introduced other measures to essentially ration foreign reserves, making it more difficult for many businesses in Nigeria to secure U.S. Dollars to import key inputs. Many retailers, especially those that were import-dependent were hit hard, and have had challenges securing the Dollars to replenish their stock. Further, the sharp drop in the parallel market Naira exchange rate, meant that certain retailers effective dollar revenues from Nigeria sales would be reduced, with many being compelled to raise their prices materially. Shoprite on the other hand, secures 76% of the items that it sells in Nigeria from local suppliers, of which 38% are manufactured locally. Therefore, Shoprite’s results have been relatively insulated from the foreign exchange shocks and Shoprite avoided material price increases. The resulting earnings, demonstrate that Shoprite’s business model is smart and defensive and well suited for an emerging market like Nigeria. Other retailers should pay close attention…and learn!”

About Michael Chudi Ejekam

Michael Chudi Ejekam is a renowned leader in the “retail revolution”. He is a widely quoted retail thought leader, with strong local business and government relationships. Michael Chudi Ejekam served as Director Real Estate for W Africa for Actis, a $7.5 B private equity firm- most active retail developer in Sub-Saharan Africa (ex SA) for 7+ years. Ejekam originated $700+M in retail projects. Projects include $100MIkeja City Mall Lagos, $120M Jabi Lake Mall Abuja and Accra Mall. Other projects include Heritage Place, Nigeria’s first green certified commercial building. Originated three upcoming Nigeria malls ranging from $150-185M each totaling over 40,000m2 each, which would be largest in the region.

Michael Chudi Ejekam started his career on Wall Street, as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch in New York.

He graduated with Honors from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, with BSc in Economics with a Concentration in Finance. He received the Howard E Mitchell Award for academic excellence and extracurricular contributions. Learn more about Michael Chudi Ejekam here.

For more information about us, please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-chu-di-ejekam-9928307

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