Kuwait’s Wafra commits $100m to UAE greenhouse grower

The first $10m tranche of the investment forms the bulk of Pure Harvest’s $20.6m Series A, with access to the rest of the outlay dependent on expansion targets being met.

Wafra International Investment Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait’s Public Institution for Social Security state office, has backed greenhouse grower Pure Harvest Smart Farms with a $100 million commitment.

Access to the full outlay is dependent on Pure Harvest hitting various business development goals. The first $10 million of the investment formed the bulk of the agtech company’s $20.6 million Series A, which was announced alongside the additional $90 million investment.

Abu Dhabi-based Pure Harvest grows fresh vegetables in a controlled greenhouse environment setting using hydroponics instead of soil. The company designs, builds and operates the greenhouses.

Yousef Ghareeb, assistant vice-president in Wafra’s treasury department, told Agri Investor the investment has been made as a foreign direct investment. Ghareeb also confirmed that Pure Harvest’s access to the majority of the outlay depended on the company successfully expanding into Saudi Arabia.

“It all depends on how things progress in Saudi Arabia,” said Ghareeb.

“We appreciate Pure Harvest’s transparency when we attended a few meetings [with them] in Saudi at the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority [the country’s foreign investment license provider]. We’re comfortable knowing that the new regime in Saudi is supporting foreign direct investments.

“Based on our trip, we had comfort that the expansion in Saudi will go according to plan, especially having the government’s support in getting this foreign direct investment and the food security [it will bring].”

Pure Harvest founder and CEO Sky Kurtz said in a joint statement: “Together with structured debt financing that we are simultaneously arranging, we will invest Wafra’s funds in growth, key hires, enhancing our technology portfolio and ultimately to deliver our solution across the region – including in Wafra’s home market of Kuwait.”

Wafra has approximately $6 billion in assets under management, according to the statement.