New South African facility will produce sustainable nutrition solutions for consumers across the continent
Kerry, one of the world’s leading taste and nutrition companies, officially opened the largest and most advanced taste manufacturing facility on the African continent. The new EUR 38 m facility is located in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and will produce sustainable nutrition solutions that will be consumed across the African continent.
The new 10,000 m2 facility is one of the company’s most environmentally efficient manufacturing sites with numerous sustainability features including low energy usage equipment, solar power generation to reduce consumption from the local grid, waste heat capture and efficient water capture, reuse and reduction.
Kerry is also expanding its Development and Application Centre in Nairobi, Kenya to further support customers in East Africa and the development of sustainable food processing for the continent.
Swiss-Ghanaian start-up Koa secures USD10 million growth capital to accelerate its disruptive up-cycling business around the cocoa fruit. The investments will allow Koa to scale its production capabilities tenfold and thereby allowing the company to cooperate with an additional 10,000 cocoa smallholders in Ghana.
Koa is taking the next step to scale its impact in the cocoa sector. Today, the Swiss-Ghanaian start-up announces the completion of its Series A equity round as well as the closing of additional senior and junior ranking debt for a total of USD 10 million of financing from both institutional and private investors. “We are excited that we won strong and reputable partners for the further growth of our business. It shows that our way of responsibly doing business and our value proposition are meeting the pulse of the time. With these investments, we will be setting up Africa’s largest cocoa pulp processing plant in West Africa which is the world’s largest cocoa growing region,” Benjamin Kuschnik, Co-Founder and Group Finance Director of Koa, says.
Founded in 2017, Koa is disrupting the cocoa industry through its innovative upcycling of the cocoa fruit. Koa is the first company in West Africa to have unlocked a new value chain around the so far discarded cocoa pulp. Working closely with cocoa smallholders, Koa reduces on-farm food waste around the cocoa fruit, generates additional farmer income while at the same time bringing unique new ingredients to the food and beverage industry for applications ranging from chocolate, confectionery, ice cream to drinks.
Bringing together private and institutional investors into an impactful venture
To finance its next expansion plans, Koa has successfully completed its Series A round raising a total of USD 4.7 million in equity. The investment round was led by Haltra Group, a Luxembourg-based family investment company which is joined by a group of other like-minded family offices all sharing Koa’s conviction to establish a business that creates real impact while being profitable and sustainable on the Triple Bottom Line “People, Planet and Profit”.
“As a family investment group focused on managing assets and having a positive impact, we promote the emergence of disruptive and sustainable economic models for future generations. We are delighted to participate in this exciting venture at the edge of Circular Economy and Food Transition, two of our core investment themes, and to contribute to impacting the local communities in Ghana,” Matthieu Baumgartner, Co-Founder of Haltra, says.
The equity round is complemented by a USD 3.5 million long-term debt facility from impact funds and USD 2.0 million of shareholder loans. The long-term debt facility is coled by the IDH Farmfit Fund and the Landscape Resilience Fund coming together in a unique partnership for this investment with the aim of improving smallholders’ incomes and their transition to climate resilient agriculture.
“Koa’s innovation makes it possible for farmers to increase their living income significantly by selling their waste product, without having to make additional investment costs at their farms,” Barbara Visser, COO of the IDH Farmfit Fund, says. “Koa furthermore aims to create gender equal employment opportunities in rural communities and targets to reach 40 % women farmers, which are in line with core objectives of the IDH Farmfit Fund. We are very pleased that today’s investment will support Koa in responsible value creation in the cocoa supply chain. These kind of disruptive and innovative solutions are key to catalyse the system change that is needed to improve the lives of these cocoa farmers.”
Looking at strengthening cocoa farmers’ climate resilience, Urs Dieterich, Managing Director of the Landscape Resilience Fund, emphasises that “increasing investment in adaptation will save and improve many lives in the communities hardest hit by climate change. That’s what today’s investment is all about – supporting an inspiring, socially and environmentally grounded business to reach greater heights and have even more climate impact.”
Increasing the production capacity tenfold to meet customer demand
Koa is investing the funds from the debt financing into a new production plant in Akim Achiase, in the Eastern Region of Ghana. This will be Koa’s second factory which is already in construction and is planned to start its operations by the end of 2022. “As the food industry is discovering the cocoa fruit, we need to grow in line with the demand from our customers. Once fully operational, the new factory will increase our production capacity by tenfold, while generating 250 new jobs in rural Ghana and allowing us to extend our cocoa fruit upcycling to an additional 10,000 cocoa farmers,” Daniel Otu, Production & Operations Director at Koa, explains.
World’s largest probiotics fermentation unit is operational at the DuPont Rochester facility
DuPont announced it has completed construction on a new, state-of-the art probiotics fermentation unit at its Rochester, New York, facility. The unit, now largest in the world, is part of a multiphase nearly $100 million investment to expand probiotics capacity and enhance the company’s leadership in delivering high-quality, clinically documented probiotics to dietary supplement and food and beverage manufacturers.
The fermentation unit is fully operational and will serve as a crucial resource in propagating bacteria and enabling high potency, stability and efficacy of probiotics. Quality is extremely important in probiotic production, and the fermentation unit will also optimize DuPont’s production capability, enabling the company to increase the pace of delivery to customers and the market.
DuPont also completed a probiotics capacity expansion at its Madison, Wisconsin, facility in late 2018. The investment was used to upgrade equipment and increase the pace of new product development and significantly improved delivery times on pilot material for clinical trials and customer evaluations.
Creating the world’s largest independent bottler for retailers and A-brands
Refresco, an independent bottler of beverages for retailers and A-brands in Europe and the US, announced completion of the acquisition of the bottling activities of Cott.
In combining Refresco’s strong European capabilities and Cott’s strength in the UK and North America, Refresco almost doubles its production volume to approximately 12 billion liters. The combination provides customers access to seamless service across geographies and an unrivalled production platform with access to all non-alcoholic beverages categories. Refresco now has a footprint of 59 facilities in 12 countries, employing over 9,500 people.
Integration and next steps
The closing follows Refresco shareholder approval, the approval in principle of the UK competition authority (CMA) and the relevant competition authorities in both the US and Canada. The CMA’s green light is conditional upon the sale of the Aseptic-PET facility at the Nelson site to a suitable buyer. Until that time Refresco and Cott will continue to operate separately in the UK. Integration will start immediately in North America. In the UK, integration will commence once we have executed the proposed remedy.
In the new combination, Refresco’s activities in North America are significantly extended, resulting in national coverage with 22 manufacturing sites in the US, 4 manufacturing sites in Canada and 1 manufacturing site in Mexico. Furthermore, Refresco now has 26 manufacturing sites in continental Europe and 6 manufacturing sites in the UK. In the UK, Cott’s bottling business will be integrated into Refresco Europe and Cott’s North American organization will be combined with Refresco North America.
The Cott bottling activities add new capabilities and expertise as well as the potential to share best practices across the combined activities of Refresco. There is significant value creation potential through scale benefits in raw material and packaging procurement, the realization of opex and capex efficiencies in footprint, utilization and logistical optimization, as well as benefits from integration and streamlining of the combined organization.