KKR invests into African rose farm

The US private equity firm has invested $200m into Ethiopia's Afriflora, an Ethiopian-based grower and distributor of sustainably grown roses.

US-based private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) has invested into Afriflora, an Ethiopian-based rose grower and distributor.

Financial details were not disclosed, but a source close to the matter told Private Equity International that KKR invested $200 million in the deal.

Afriflora, a company that produces and sells sustainably grown roses, was founded and run by the Dutch Barnhoorn family, which will remain invested in the business. The company’s main growing facility is located in Ziway, Ethiopia, which according to KKR, is the largest single rose-growing facility in the world.

The deal represents KKR’s first into Africa.

In February, African private equity fund Agri-Vie invested $5 million into a flower exporting business in Kenya called Kariki Group. Agri-Vie’s managing director Herman Marais described it as a “highly valuable, niche play”.

KKR made the investment from its European Fund III, a €6.79 billion, 2008-vintage fund. This fund has a mandate to invest a certain amount of the vehicle outside Europe, according to a source familiar with the matter. KKR is currently attempting to raise €3 billion for its fourth European fund, which has a €3.5 billion hard-cap.

“This first investment reflects the long-term commitment of our firm to the wider African region,” Johannes Huth, head of KKR Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in the statement.

“We look forward to making further investments across the continent through our private equity, infrastructure and energy investment platforms.”

Additional reporting by Yolanda Bobeldijk.