Beltone, Kenana to pour $1bn into agriculture infrastructure

The investment bank's private equity arm has teamed with the Khartoum-based sugar company to invest in large-scale infrastructure projects in the Sudanese and Egyptian agriculture sectors.

Beltone Private Equity, a division of Egyptian investment bank Beltone Financial, and Kenana Sugar Company, a Khartoum-headquartered sugar company, will invest up to $1 billion in large-scale infrastructure projects in Egypt and Sudan.

The two parties have entered into a partnership to create a company that will invest the capital. Other details of the partnership, including whether it involves the raising of third-party capital, were not disclosed.
The firms did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Beltone Private Equity will provide investment management, corporate finance and strategic capabilities, Hazem Barakat, chief executive of Beltone Private Equity, said in a statement. Kenana, on the other hand, will support the initiative through its operational expertise.

Mohamed El Mardi, the chief executive officer of Kenana, added that agriculture plays an important role in developing countries and is a major source of income for emerging economies.

In August 2008, Belltone Private Equity launched the $150 million Beltone Mid-Market Fund in partnership with SIGEFI Private Equity, the fund management arm of France’s Siparex Group. That fund targets investments in Egypt and the GCC countries.

Beltone's private equity group also manages three other funds, the most recent of which is the $85 million Beltone Retail Fund, which closed in 2008 and invests in Egypt's retail sector. The firm manages assets of more than EGP1.5 billion ($271 million; €190 million).

Established in 1975, Kenana is the world’s largest integrated sugar company, according to its website. It produces more than 400,000 tonnes of white sugar every year. Sudan's government owns a 36 percent stake in Kenana, Kuwait Investment Authority a 31 percent stake and the Saudi goverment, 11 percent.