African PE firm Zebu inks first deal this year with South African poultry company

 African PE firm Zebu inks first deal this year with South African poultry company

African food business-oriented private equity firm Zebu Investment Partners has struck the first new deal in a year with the buyout of Elgin Free Range Chickens Holdings.

Zebu sealed the deal via its second fund, Africa Food Security LP (AFS), which has a corpus of around $90 million and invests $2-8 million in each portfolio company.

Elgin is a South African vertically integrated poultry company and supplies free-range chickens to retailers, food service companies, restaurants, and its own retail outlets.

Elgin founder Jeanne Groenewald initially started supplying chickens to her family and friends in 1996. Since then, she has grown and developed the business into a leading supplier of the top retailers in South Africa and has also launched the company’s own retail outlets in the Western Cape.

“Poultry is the leading animal protein consumed in South Africa, and we want to play an active role in developing the free-range segment of this market, and by doing so, increasing access to all,” said Zebu senior managing partner Dennis Matangira.

Matangira said the Covid-19 pandemic came at a time when the global food system was under strain. “In Africa, this exposed numerous vulnerabilities within our food value chain, and influenced more consumers to seek healthier and more sustainable food sources.”

This transactions adds to a bunch of deals in the poultry segment this year, spanning private credit, venture capital and M&A.

For instance, Rwanda’s Uzima and Uganda’s Yo Kuku attracted debt capital from AgDevCo and International Finance Corporation, respectively.

In the venture stage, Pearl Capital backed Sekajja Agro Farms in Uganda while OP Finnfund Global Impact Fund I invested in Ethiochicken in Ethiopia.

In another transaction, Country Bird roped in a multinational strategic investor for a part of its business.

Vivek Sinha

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