Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between EFRC Holdings (Pty) Ltd (including its wholly owned subsidiaries Elgin Free Range Chickens (Pty) Ltd, Elgin Poultry Abattoir (Pty) Ltd and EFRC Agri Operations (Pty) Ltd) and The Africa Food Security LP (AFS LP) managed by Zebu Investment Partners.
Elgin Free Range Chickens is South Africa’s largest supplier of exclusively free range chicken to the retail and food services market, both as raw primal and value-added products. The group currently supplies 132,000 free range chickens per week to leading South African retailers, food service companies, restaurants, and its own retail outlets. Demand currently exceeds supply, and Elgin Free Range Chickens has shown strong year-on-year growth, in line with the growth of the market.
Elgin Free Range Chickens was started in 1996 by Jeanne Groenewald as a backyard business, raising chickens for friends and local companies. Growth over the years stemmed from the brand being trusted as a producer of ethically raised, free range chicken, and today enjoys a loyal following from clientele and humane animal practice organisations alike. As a result, Elgin FRC has been able to withstand many industry and economic challenges, well evidenced by the consistent and growing demand during the current global pandemic.
Founder Jeanne Groenewald commented on the transaction by saying, “I often refer to the company as my first born. It has been 25 years in the making and the time has come to release this child to fly to bigger heights. As with any protective mother, I was very selective in choosing the right investor to ensure the company’s culture, morals and ethics are upheld and will continue into the future. Zebu ticked all these boxes. They have ESG at the forefront of their investment criteria, are passionate about animal welfare, sustainability, and people upliftment. I wish them well in taking this company to its next level”.
Zebu Investment Partners (Zebu) is a private equity fund manager established to invest in food production and processing throughout the African continent. Zebu manages the AFS LP, a c.US$ 85 million fund that seeks to make investments in high growth companies in Africa, across the food value chain.
Detailing their motives for the acquisition, Zebu’s Senior Managing Partner Dennis Matangira highlighted, “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”. He further emphasised the impact that the diversity and strength of the Elgin FRC team has had on performance to date: “Not only is Elgin Free Range Chickens female founded, but also female led, through its senior management structures. This is a key consideration as part of our gender-lens investing priorities, and, we also believe, is a reason the company has been able to achieve the successes it has to date. We are looking forward to continuing to embed diversity, ethics and positive impact across the value chain, and in the community within which Elgin FRC operates.”
Andre Bresler, representing Benchmark International’s South African office, added, “It is incredibly rewarding to represent a client, and brand, whose products I personally both believe in and buy. We have been privileged to work with Jeanne in realising the value of the incredible business she’s created, and are equally delighted for Zebu who not only share the values on which Elgin FRC was founded but who have the passion and skills to steward the business through its next phase of growth.”
Americas: Sam Smoot at +1 (813) 898 2350 / Smoot@BenchmarkIntl.com
Europe: Michael Lawrie at +44 (0) 161 359 4400 / Enquiries@BenchmarkIntl.com
Africa: Anthony McCardle at +27 21 300 2055 / McCardle@BenchmarkIntl.com
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Benchmark International’s global offices provide business owners in the middle market and lower middle market with creative, value-maximizing solutions for growing and exiting their businesses. To date, Benchmark International has handled engagements in excess of $7B across various industries worldwide. With decades of global M&A experience, Benchmark International’s deal teams, working from 14 offices across the world, have assisted hundreds of owners with achieving their personal objectives and ensuring the continued growth of their businesses.