Emerging Capital Partners has acquired a minority stake in Thunnus Overseas Group, a group of tuna processing and distribution companies in Cote d’Ivoire and Madagascar. No financial terms were disclosed.
Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), an international private equity firm focused on investing across the African continent, announced today that it has acquired a minority stake in Thunnus Overseas Group, (TOG), a group of companies engaged in tuna processing and distribution in Cote d’Ivoire and Madagascar. The investment of US $28.9 million (euro 21.4 million) — made in common shares, convertible notes and a senior loan — will enable TOG to expand its market leader status by increasing production, consolidating sales efforts, and reorganizing finances.
“TOG is a clear leader in the canned tuna market, particularly in France, Germany and Belgium,” said Tom Gibian, chief executive officer of ECP. “The company has a reputation for product quality, strong sales and superior customer service. It is in a prime position for growth through new product development and expansion into other European markets like Spain and Italy.”
TOG products are primarily exported to European retailers, under premium brands or as private-label brands. In France, TOG is the leader in the canned tuna market with a 25 percent market share. In 2008, the company processed, packaged and sold about 50,000 tons of tuna, which generated approximately US $166 million (euro 123 million) in revenues.
ECP expects to increase shareholder value by enabling TOG to better integrate production planning and procurement opportunities among its Ivorian and Malagasy operations. The company’s sales force will also be consolidated, and TOG will seek to diversify its product range to address additional market segments. ECP also plans to assess TOG’s financial structure and rebalance the company’s long term and short term financing.
TOG employs approximately 3,200 people in Cote d’Ivoire and Madagascar. The company is an aggregation of six operating companies and holdings under the leadership of Mohamed Khachab, including: Peche et Froid Cote d’Ivoire and SCODI, which are Ivorian tuna processing companies; PFOI, a Madagascar-based tuna processing business; and Peche et Froid International, Scodi International and Conserverie des Cinqs Oceans, the corresponding marketing and distribution companies.
“TOG has several competitive advantages in terms of location, diversified sources of tuna, and production costs,” said Vincent le Guennou, executive vice president of ECP. “These factors — combined with world-class business practices — should enable TOG to aggressively expand its market share in Europe, the world’s largest importer of canned tuna and also in the MENA region.”
The investment in Thunnus Overseas Group is ECP’s second in the African food processing sector. The firm continues to hold a stake in Agromed S.A., a dairy processing and production company based in Tunisia.
Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) is the first private equity firm to raise more than US $1.5 billion to invest in companies across the African continent. The ECP team has an eight-year track record of pan-African investing. The firm’s investment strategy is focused on delivering consistently above-market returns to investors that are uncorrelated to the U.S. and other global economies. For more information, please see www.ecpinvestments.com.