Billionaire Ronald Lauder funding Kenyan car manufacturing company

Story by Mfonobongo Nsehe for Forbes

American billionaire Ronald Lauder has reportedly provided start-up capital to Mobius Motors, a startup Kenyan car-manufacturing company that plans to build Africa’s cheapest car.

According to a report by Kenya’s Business Daily, Lauder, who is worth about $3.8 billion, is offering Mobius Motors an undisclosed amount in debt which is convertible to equity. Mobius will use the money to assemble its first 50 units and establish a distribution network in Kenya.

Lauder is making the investment through his New York-based, African-focused investment vehicle,Pan African Investment Co (PIC), which makes impact investments in African companies providing solutions to some of Africa’s social problems.  PIC was founded in the summer of 2012 by Lauder and Dick Parsons, TimeWarner’s former CEO (who was just appointed interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team). The company makes investments in the region of $1 – $5 million and is run by Dana Reed, an investment banker who has done stints at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

Dana Reid, the CEO of PIC, told the Kenyan newspaper that the company is investing in Mobius to “help create value in the company while driving job growth and entrepreneurship in Kenya”

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