Impact duo teams up on Kenyan ferry business – Exclusive

Ferry builder and operator Globology, part-owned by Dutch family office DOB Equity, will use the investment to double its fleet.

Dutch impact investor Hooge Raedt Social Ventures (HRSV) is providing a loan facility to Kenyan ferry builder and operator Globology to double its fleet, Private Equity International has learned.

Dutch family office DOB Equity holds a 49 percent stake in Globology, having made an equity investment of €1.02 million in 2014, according to its website.

DOB’s initial investment allowed Globology to design and build catamaran passenger ferries connecting the island communities on Lake Victoria from its jetty at Kisumu, Kenya. Within two years of investment more than 500,000 commuters have used Globology’s water transport.

The investment from HRSV will allow Globology to double its fleet from two to four ferries within the next few months. The aim is to double capacity again within the next year, which will allow Globology to serve up to one million passengers per year.

The amount HRSV will be investing is undisclosed.

HRSV is an impact investor focusing on investment opportunities in East Africa to empower underserved people. It is fully owned by the Dutch FEMI Foundation, a private foundation set up in 1995 by Ruud Bakhuizen, CEO and owner of real estate holding company Hooge Raedt Group, and his wife Annelies to improve the living conditions of children.

“By improving the transportation and logistics sector in Kenya, Globology will help connect the island communities with the rest of rural and urban markets around the Lake, causing a substantial boost in regional economy,” said Joris de Vries, an investment manager at HRSV.

“This fits perfectly with our goal to invest in companies that ostensibly improve the lives of people in underserved communities.”

Set up in 2007, DOB Equity is backed solely by the de Rijcke family to make direct investments in East Africa. The 12-strong team operates through offices in the Netherlands, Nairobi and Tanzania.

DOB typically invests a minimum of €1 million to acquire stakes of 25-49 percent in companies that will “positively contribute to a more social and sustainable society and deliver long-term profitability,” according to its website.

“We’re quite flexible in terms of how we structure our deals,” DOB Equity chief executive Brigit van Dijk-van de Reijt told PEI in an interview in August. “These are all tailor-made with a focus on equity, but we can also offer debt or other financial structures that suit the growth of the company.”

Van Dijk-van de Reijt declined to disclose the exact amount of capital available to DOB Equity for investment, but said it is “very substantial”.

DOB Equity invests across sectors, and currently has exposure to the renewable energy, agriculture, logistics, education, online retailing, and supply chain sectors. It has nine investments in its portfolio, including Kenyan food wholesaler Twiga Foods, in which it acquired a minority stake this year.

Twiga Foods allows vendors in Nairobi to buy fruit and vegetables through their mobile phones, and delivers supplies directly to retailers’ stalls. The business simplifies and shortens supply chains of key food items, reducing costs and minimizing waste, DOB said.