8 Miles invests in Ethiopian beef exporter

Founded two years ago to take advantage of beef export opportunities, Verde Beef is expected to grow “ten-fold” with new funding according its latest investor 8 Miles.

Pan-African private equity firm 8 Miles has bought a minority stake in vertically-integrated Ethiopian beef producer Verde Beef Processing, Agri Investor reports.

The firm plans to raise a second fund before the second quarter of 2017, according to sources.

The latest investment, financial details of which were not disclosed, will fund the company’s expansion plans to “grow more than ten-fold from its current base of 6,000 animals,” according to a statement from 8 Miles.

The London-based firm said Verde Beef, founded with $4 million in seed funding from investment firm Verdant Frontiers two years ago, is actively exporting beef as demand from the Middle East, Africa and Asia climbs.

Verde Beef plans to begin construction on an in-house abattoir and processing facility next year to add to its 1,300 hectare feedlot and crop-farming facility, where it fattens cattle.

No details on a second fund were provided by the firm, but it is thought a second fund would also target a geographically wide investor base.

The investment was made from 8 Miles Fund I A, which held a first close on $200 million in February 2012, about $250 million short of its target. Investors include the International Finance Corporation, the African Development Bank and development finance firm CDC Group, as well as two US, one European and one African private investor.

UK Companies House documents indicate some of the partners restructured the investment vehicles through which they invested in the fund in 2013.

A source from the fund said that the decision was made to close the fund early because between 2010, when the fund was launched, and 2012, investment in private equity generally declined.

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