Agri-Vie, a private equity investment fund focused on food and agribusiness in Sub-Sahara Africa and Norfund have announced a $17m co-investment into the Marginpar Flower Group Holdings, one of the leading players in marketing and sales of summer flowers from Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, through forming long lasting and sustainable partnerships between breeders, growers and the market.

Marginpar Group has expanded its business through the acquisition of Carzan Flowers in Kenya, Marginpar Ethiopia in Ethiopia and Marginpar BV in the Netherlands. These acquisitions add to the group’s existing investments in Kariki Limited, a Kenyan summer flower producer.

Starbright, through Kariki, owns four farms situated at differing altitudes in the Kenyan highlands, allowing the group to produce an assortment of different flowers for export, including, Kangaita farm in Nanyuki, Kariki farm in Juja, Kudenga farm in Naivasha and Hamwe farm in Moloa production area of approximately 130 ha of varied and niche summer flowers for the export market employing 1,800 people.

“The joining of forces will facilitate a future strategy of sustainable growth and amalgamation of innovation, production and marketing within the supply chain of niche and varied summer flowers. Through this consolidation, the individual companies will build on each other’s expertise whilst still being able to focus on their core activities,” says Richard Fernandes, a Director within the Group.

Richard Fernandes, Kariki Director

“Norfund is delighted to contribute to the growth of floriculture in East Africa, which is a primary employer and foreign exchange contributor to the East African countries”, says Managing Director of Norfund, Kjell Roland. He adds, “This investment is focused on employment creation and export, and fits very well with our strategy to contribute to sustainable enterprises and economic development in Africa”.

Herman Marais, Agri-Vie co-founder and managing partner at EXEO Capital, the fund manager, says that this investment is a perfect fit for the fund, which focuses on food and agribusiness in Sub-Sahara Africa. “Our vision remains to be a catalyst for sustainable growth through investing in foundation sectors of Africa’s economies. As an increasing proportion of global cut flowers are grown in and exported from East Africa, supporting the sustainable growth of this industry is very much in line with this vision.

“The Kenyan cut flower industry is sophisticated and now one of the world’s leading suppliers of cut flowers with a reported 35% market share in the European Union. Ethiopia is positioned as the second-largest flower exporter in Africa after Kenya, with over 100 grower companies on 1,700 hectares. The consolidation of production and marketing capabilities brought about by this transaction is in line with global trends in the industry and will enable a competitive advantage,” he explains.

Since inception in 2008, Agri-Vie has invested $125 million in the food and agribusiness sector in Africa.

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