Africa PE firm Adenia steps up dealmaking gear with buyout of Kenya rose grower

 Africa PE firm Adenia steps up dealmaking gear with buyout of Kenya rose grower

Adenia Partners, one of the oldest Africa-focused private equity firms, has struck its fourth deal even as it is in an advanced stage of negotiations to seal another.

The PE firm, which is set to hit the road for its fifth fund, said Wednesday it has acquired a majority stake in Altilands SA, the parent company of Red Lands Roses, a leading grower of premium fresh-cut roses in Kenya.

Adenia didn’t disclose financial terms of the transaction. However, as a mid-market buyout-focused PE firm, Adenia has been striking deals in the €25-35 million range.

Red Lands was set up in 1996 by agronomist Isabelle Spindler. It operates a farm of 28 hectares, 35 km northeast of Nairobi. The company produces 16 million stems per year, which comprise more than 200 varieties of fresh-cut roses. It sells exclusively to wholesalers, predominantly serving markets in Russia, Eastern and Central Europe.

Adenia said it was impressed by Red Lands’ strong pricing power, which is driven by the company’s direct route-to-market model that avoids the auction system where most of Kenya’s fresh-cut roses are sold.

The PE firm will collaborate with Red Lands’ management to accelerate the expansion of its production capacity through cultivation of an additional 20 hectares of land. The investment will also lead to growth in the number of employees, a significant number of whom are women, from 500 currently to nearly 750 in two years.

Martha Osier, partner at Adenia, said that Red Lands Roses’ niche business model was pioneered by one of the few women in the male-dominated sector.

“Adenia has a strong track record of accelerating growth and institutionalizing family-led companies like ours,” said Red Lands managing director Isabelle Spindler. “We look forward to partnering with Adenia and leveraging their experience and expertise.”

Isabelle and her husband, Aldric Spindler, will remain executive directors responsible for farm expansion.

Red Lands’ recently appointed CEO, Disha Copreaux, has assumed active management of the company. She is a Kenyan citizen and brings both operational and strategic experience in commercial farm management having previously served in leadership roles at Export Trading Group (ETG) and Syngenta.

This year, Adenia has already announced three transactions. These include an investment in Eastcastle Infrastructure, a telecom tower group created by former executives at Eaton Towers. Adenia co-led the $130 million round with African Infrastructure Investment Managers. The deal, which was first reported by The Capital Quest in January, also involves International Finance Corporation, the private-sector investment arm of the World Bank Group.

Adenia also acquired Africa Biosystems Ltd (ABL), a distributor of life sciences and clinical diagnostics equipment in East Africa. ABL is headquartered in Kenya and has offices in Uganda and Tanzania. It offers instruments used to conduct research and diagnosis across the animal, human and crop sectors with product applications that span molecular, cell and protein biology and DNA forensics.

The PE firm, which recently opened a new office in South Africa, also struck its first deal in the country by acquiring a majority stake in Herholdt’s, a distributor of low-voltage electrical products and solar products.

Vivek Sinha

The Capital Quest