Helios acquires Dreyfus’ Africa ag inputs unit

The business was sold by Louis Dreyfus Company to Helios' third Africa-focused fund, a $1.1bn vehicle closed in 2013.

London-headquartered Helios Investment Partners has acquired Louis Dreyfus Company’s (LDC) Africa-based fertilizers and agricultural inputs unit.

The unit, which distributes fertilizers, crop protection products, seeds, and industrial chemicals under its “La Cigone” brand, was acquired for an undisclosed amount. The deal was made from Helios Investment Partners III, a $1.1 billion fund closed in 2013, a Helios spokesperson told Agri Investor.

“Louis Dreyfus Company has been successful at expanding its fertilizers and inputs distribution network in Africa, which stands to benefit from the growing size and sophistication of the continent’s agriculture and industry. We look forward to providing expansion capital and working with management and key stakeholders to accelerate the growth of the business,” Helios partner Alykhan Nathoo said.

Operating throughout Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mali and Senegal, the business generated annual sales of $300 million in 2016.

In its 2016 annual report, Amsterdam-headquartered LDC described a change in its approach to fertilizers and inputs that it said was a response to oversupply in the global market. LDC took steps that included cost-cutting initiatives, reducing logistics costs, introducing new products and working directly with individual customers to help adjust to shifting market conditions in Australia, Argentina and Uruguay.

Helios was founded in 2004 and has $2.42 billion in asset under management, according to PEI data, and a portfolio that includes investments across 25 African countries. The firm also has offices in Lagos and Nairobi and focuses largely on energy and telecom. Its one current food-related investment is in consumer goods business GB Foods Africa.