Pan-African private equity firm EXEO Capital has reached a $100 million first close on its food and agribusiness-focused Agri-Vie Fund II, surpassing the vehicle’s initial target by one third, the firm announced Wednesday.
Drawing capital from unnamed institutional investors in Africa, Europe and North America, the fund previously set a $75 million first target, a $150 million final close and has a hard cap of $200 million, expecting to remain open for an additional 12 months.
The fund will look to partner with low and mid-cap companies targeting processed foods, dairy, proteins, condiments, beverages, and ingredients sectors, both in African and its export countries.
“These opportunities are supported and driven by distinct structural factors and trends, which include rapid urbanization leading to increasing demand for processed food products, large-scale import replacement opportunities in several of the countries where the fund operates, as well as the availability of new technologies to enable precision farming and efficient agro-processing,” said EXEO partner and Stanlib head of alternative investments Patrick Mamathuba in a statement.
Investments from its predecessor fund, the $100 million Agri-Vie Fund I, averaged about $7 million and went to 12 companies located in countries including South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
Portfolio companies in that fund include vertically-integrated tropical fruit juice provider africaJUICE, east African forestry and timber company New Forests Company and South Africa-based HIK Abalone Farm, which provides a variety of abalone products, primarily to Asian markets.
EXEO managing partner Herman Marias told Agri Investor in March that average investments from Fund II will likely be slightly larger.
“The weighting of our deployment in southern Africa will be somewhat reduced, and probably we will increase the weighting of deployment in east Africa and over time, in west Africa,” he said.
Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, an investor in Agri-Vie Fund I, has also partnered with EXEO on the establishment of Fund II, in hopes of catalyzing further private investment in African agribusiness.
EXEO was founded in 2015 as a partnership between the founders of Agri-Vie and Stanlib Asset Management, a pan-African investment manager.