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Dutch PE-fund diversifies its interests in Kenyan Agro-processor

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Dutch family-backed DOB Equity has acquired an undisclosed stake in a Kenyan producer of coconut oil, milk and cream – raising its health-conscious agribusiness portfolio in the country.

The East African-focused impact investor in a recent statement, said the funds it has injected in Coconut Holdings Ltd. will finance expansion.

The coconut-processing firm is looking at expanding production capacity, launch new products and further develop its sales – to cover the six-nation East African Community bloc.

The firm, which operates two plants at the Coast, relies on smallholder farmers for supplies.

Coconut Holdings trades under the Kentaste brand and largely targets the food and personal care market.

“As the largest coconut processor in Kenya, Kentaste is well-positioned to benefit from the fast-growth demand for healthy products,” DOB Equity chief executive Brigit van Dijk – van de Reijt said in a statement.

“Coconut processing is a zero-waste business, and along with the substantial social impact it has on farmers, the investment fits perfectly in DOB Equity’s portfolio.”

The acquisition comes in quick succession, after the firm bought into macadamia nut processor, Ten Senses Africa, which also depends on farmers at the Coast for supply of nuts.

The government has since 2013 been looking at revitalising coconut farming, an industry with potential to add more than Sh25 billion to the economy every year.

“We have an ambitious growth trajectory and to unlock the full potential throughout the value chain, we need a financing partner that understands what it takes to secure sourcing, improve the process and enter new markets,” Coconut Holdings chief executive Kyle Denning said.

The popularity of coconut trees has seen other counties such as Nyeri explore their commercial viability.

“The coconut tree is one of the most useful in the world due to its versatility, providing both nutritional and functional uses. It can provide food and drink as well as a livelihood,” DOB portfolio director Hayo Afman said.

Source: African Strategic-Ventures (ASV) & Business Daily Africa.