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A $100 million trucking bet—but not in the US

Monday, 27 Jan 2014 | 1:26 PM ET
J&J Transport truck
Source: J&J Transport
J&J Transport truck

The Carlyle Group is putting its money where its mouth is in Africa.

The Washington-based alternative asset manager has made its second investment from its Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund, this time leading a group of partners to put $100 million in J&J Africa for a 50 percent ownership stake, according to people familiar with the deal.

J&J is a Mozambique-based logistics company specializing in the road transportation of cargo along the Beira corridor, a key Southern African trade route.

The J&J deal comes as Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein has been publicly plugging Africa.

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"Obviously there are a lot of issues with respect to corruption, issues with respect to size and quality of management, quality of financing," Rubenstein said at DealBook conference in November in noting that seven of the world's 10 fastest-growing countries are in sub-Saharan Africa.

"But over the next 10 years or so, it's likely because of the extraction opportunities there—minerals, oil and gas," he said, "and because of the wealth—the middle class is going to get bigger and bigger—there will be a lot of opportunities there."

(Read more: US investors uncover a new market—and it's popping)

Carlyle announced the new investment—which is expected to close later this quarter—on Jan. 23, but did not provide financial details. The terms, according to the people briefed on them, include $50 million from Carlyle's Africa fund; $30 million from Investec Asset Management, a global investment manager with African roots; and $20 million to other unnamed limited partners.

A spokeswoman for $185 billion Carlyle in London declined to comment on the deal terms.

The firm launched its sub-Saharan Africa fund in 2012 based out of Johannesburg and Lagos, Nigeria, with a focus on buyouts and minority investments in goods, logistics, financial services, agribusiness and energy.

In November 2012 Carlyle partnered with The Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund and Standard Chartered Private Equity to invest $210 million in Export Trading Group, a Tanzania-based agricultural supply chain business.

(Read more: Private equity's growing play: Africa)

Carlyle and its partners believe in the potential growth of J&J along with the region.

"By building on J&J's current service, as well as adding new offerings, we hope to better serve current and future customers in this fast-growing region," Marlon Chigwende, co-head of the Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund, said in a statement. "J&J is well positioned to benefit from the fast growth across Southern Africa, particularly in Mozambique and Zambia."

—By CNBC's Lawrence Delevingne. Follow him on Twitter @ldelevingne.

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