Wealthy U.S. Families Want To Invest In Sub-Saharan Family-Owned Agribusiness

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Wealthy U.S. investors including beer brewer Coors, and department store owner the Belk family, are part of a private U.S. capital fund looking for opportunities in sub-Saharan African agriculture, according to a report in BusinessDayLive.

The One Thousand & One Voices fund has raised $300 million in capital from investors in the U.S., and already has two agribusiness acquisitions in South Africa. Now it wants logistics and distribution, manufacturing and consumer businesses, fund CEO Hendrik Jordaan said.

These are not your typical private equity investors, Jordaan said. They are prepared to take long-term views on investments.

“Instead of selling out after a few years, we can hold our investments for up to 20 years. We are in the fortunate position of being able to leverage off our investors’ intellectual, relational and patient capital.”

The fund, aka 1K1V, bought Upington-based RedSun Dried Fruit & Nuts and North West-based meat distributor Beefmaster.

It wants to invest between $10 million and $14 million, targeting firms capable of producing at least $2 million in annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

“We like family-owned businesses as well as businesses that are cash-positive and looking for a growth partner,” Jordaan said.

There’s a compelling long-term story unfolding in sub-Saharan African agriculture despite the drought and the political uncertainty, Jordaan said. “Global food demand is rising … that’s undeniable. Africa has 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land.”

Other recent U.S.commercial investments in African agriculture include Land O’Lakes’ 52.5 percent acquisition of Villa Crop Protection, a leading farm chemicals company.

South Africa already has numerous agri-based funds including PSG-controlled Zeder Investments, Afgri and Agri-Vie. JSE-listed Zeder made serious inroads in the agricultural sector buying stakes in Pioneer Foods, Capespan, Kaap Agri and seed giant Zaad, BusinessDayLive reports.