It has also raised additional capital to fuel growth in agriculture, food processing and financial services.
AFGRI Group Holdings, going forward to be known as AGH, has raised R1 billion of additional capital from its shareholders for strategic acquisitions in three focused investment area: agriculture, food and financial services. Its shareholders include Fairfax, B-BBEE consortium, Bafepi Agri Proprietary Limited, and management. This is further supported by a holding by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).
According to Chris Venter, CEO of AGH, the current company structure is set to expand, with the fundamental purpose of being an enabler to food security across Africa. He says:
“This is an exciting avenue for AGH, and this is where the advantage of having like-minded shareholders such as Fairfax, PIC and Bafepi comes into play, allowing us to raise R1 billion to enable our growth strategy.”
In the three focus areas, AFGRI is its largest agricultural investment, Philafrica Foods consolidates its current food investments and GroCapital Holdings, completing the trio, will be the ultimate owner of the South African Bank of Athens (SABA), with final approvals for the transaction being imminent.
The biggest part of the new capital raised will be focused on the expansion of Philafrica Foods. The company has capabilities that include grain and maize milling, soya crushing and oil and seed extraction processing, and has most recently added cassava processing in Africa to its repertoire. It also manufactures dog food and animal feeds, is involved in poultry production in Mozambique, and recently announced the acquisition of Pakworks.
Over the past two years AFGRI has grown its agricultural footprint in Australia through investments totalling R500 million, and now owns and manages the largest John Deere dealership in Australia. According to Venter, these investments were made using the company‘s own funds.
The third leg of the AGH investment holding structure is financial services. “This is a broad offering and covers aspects ranging from access to finance through to trading of future contracts to sophisticated debtor products and the funding of agricultural businesses,“ Venter says.
He adds that another coupe within the financial services cluster is the eagerly-anticipated final approval of the purchase of SABA by the Competition Commission, following the announcement in March 2017 that the group had acquired the National Bank of Greece Group’s stake in SABA, corresponding to 99.81 percent of the issued share capital of the bank. A portion of the capital raised has gone towards this acquisition.