EXEO Capital announces investment in Tanzanian packing manufacturer

16 Jul 2019

Having sustained an impressive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7% over the past decade, Tanzania now boasts the third-largest economy in East Africa, following Ethiopia and Kenya respectively. According to Avril Stassen, a Senior Partner at EXEO Capital - an alternative investment partner in Africa - Tanzania remains an appealing investment destination despite a number of sectors being disrupted by the clampdown on corruption in an effort to better manage public resources.

“As a long-term investment destination, Tanzania remains attractive for EXEO, it is just a matter of identifying the right investee companies to partner with.”

Stassen says that evidence of this is EXEO’s Agri-Vie Fund II – a private equity fund focused on food and agribusiness investments in Sub-Saharan Africa – which in June 2019 concluded the subscription for a significant minority shareholding in PPHL. “PPHL’s fully-owned Tanzanian subsidiary, PPTL, is a regional leader in the production of woven polymer-based extruded products and has already demonstrated a strong social impact, which the growth strategy will further enhance.”

Founded in 1994 and based in Tanga, Tanzania, the company currently employs 740 people, making it one of the largest employers in the region. With a focus on the production of bags, sacks and tarpaulins for the agriculture and cement industries, the company has five main products: grain bags (under the TanSack brand), sugar and fertiliser bags, tarpaulins (under the IMARA brand), block cement bags and the PICS Hermetic grain storage bags.

Stassen highlights that the company has recently been awarded the rights to manufacture and distribute the PICS bags in the East and Southern African region and will use the investment to increase production and export regionally. “In addition to investing equity into the business, Agri-Vie is also assisting in the raising of additional debt funding for expansion projects. PPHL expects to employ an additional 200 people when these expansion projects have been completed, further extending their already impressive social reach.”

PICS bags were developed by the Purdue University in the USA, and offer small-scale farmers low-cost post-harvest crop storage by hermetically sealing the crops in a specially designed triple-layer bag. Roughly 30% of crops go to waste across Sub Saharan Africa, with losses valued at US$1.6bn per year in Southern and Eastern Africa alone.

“PICS bags are therefore a solution to poverty and low incomes among the tens of millions of subsistence farmers, post-harvest losses, food security and numerous health concerns caused by poor post-harvest storage practices,” says Stassen. “The company is also looking to implement a recycling programme to reduce any negative environmental impact,” he adds.

Suraj Devani, Executive at PPHL, says that the company is thrilled to have a value-adding partner on board. “We believe that the support and guidance offered by the EXEO team, coupled with the additional debt funding being provided for the expansion projects, will enable us to realise our goal of being able to reach out to millions of farmers in East and Southern Africa with sustainable technology-based solutions for crop drying and storage.”

PPHL was advised by Africa Insight Advisors, while EXEO was advised by Cluver Markotter, Clyde & Co and PKF.

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