London, UK, 11-2-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — Standard Chartered Private Equity (“SCPE”), the investment division of Standard Chartered Bank, announced that it has committed a further USD15 million (ZAR150 million) to existing portfolio company and Bank client, Afrifresh Group (Proprietary) Limited (“Afrifresh”) – one of Southern Africa’s largest integrated fruit producers and exporters. This capital injection follows SCPE’s initial USD20 million equity investment made in February 2011 to fund the Company’s expansion program.
Afrifresh is a leading Southern African agricultural company with operations spread across South Africa and Zimbabwe, and a global reach spanning 54 export markets. Afrifresh has achieved significant growth since its incorporation 15 years ago. In 1999, the Company made its first farm acquisition, becoming one of the first South African fruit exporters to diversify its earnings stream by vertically integrating upstream into farming. Today Afrifresh’s operations incorporate first-rate primary agriculture, processing, marketing and distribution capabilities.
In an effort to support local development and skills transfer, Afrifresh is participating in a partnership on the Berekisanang Empowerment Farm, a 500 ha greenfield citrus and table grape operation based in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province near Upington. The ZAR250 million project currently employs over 200 members of the local community, and is a unique partnership between Afrifresh, the Industrial Development Corporation and the community. The farm expects to employ a further 900 staff by 2019. To date, Afrifresh has developed 400 ha of the farm, and expects to harvest first grape production later this year.
Chris Conradie, the CEO of Afrifresh, said, “Afrifresh is committed to its strategy of expanding operations, creating jobs, and exporting top quality fruit to the world. We are pleased to have Standard Chartered Private Equity supporting us in accomplishing these objectives. With this follow-on investment, Afrifresh is poised to continue its profitable growth.”
Peter Baird, the head of SCPE’s Africa team, said, “Afrifresh is an inspiring South African growth story, which now supports more than 4,000 staff and generates significant export revenues. This is an excellent example of how private sector capital and thoughtful government support, combined with old-fashioned entrepreneurship, can create a globally competitive business. We are pleased to play a role in Afrifresh’s continued growth across Southern Africa’s agribusiness sector.”
For further information please contact:
Head of Business Communications, Africa
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Note to Editors:
Afrifresh is one of Southern Africa’s leading agricultural companies. The Company cultivates and grows several varieties of citrus and table grapes for sale in local and export markets. In South Africa, the company owns 16 farming entities, which operate 22 farms (c. 2,913ha) and independent pack houses across the country. Farming operations are strategically located in South Africa’s primary fruit-growing regions and all fruit produced by Afrifresh is sold through the Company’s Fruit Trading Division across 54 markets worldwide.
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