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The Moringa SCA (SICAR) Achieves First Closing

19 August 2013

(Press Release) La Compagnie Benjamin de Rothschild (CBR), ONF International (ONFI) and the Moringa Partnership team are pleased to announce the first closing of the Moringa S.C.A., SICAR, a private equity investment vehicle dedicated to making investments in sustainable agroforestry projects in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Agroforestry projects combine forestry and agricultural elements to mitigate risk and produce synergies that lead to strongly positive environmental and social impacts.

Moringa’s investment strategy is to support the development of agroforestry projects on the basis of successful pilot projects located in targeted countries. Moringa will typically invest between EUR4m and EUR10m per project and aims to scale up its projects and produce stable and profitable agroforestry projects that address both local and international markets.

Moringa projects will produce staple food and export crops, biomass and timber for local and international markets. The Moringa team has a strong and proprietary dealflow pipeline at its disposal thanks to CBR, ONFI and its own networks. ONFI, the technical partner, also contributes its widely recognised forestry and agroforestry expertise and its network of offices in the countries targeted by Moringa.

In addition to providing investors with an attractive return derived from a sustainable portfolio, Moringa projects will routinely seek applicable third party sustainability certification. They will contribute tangible and measurable benefits to local populations such as job opportunities and additional income and facilitate the provision of improved health and schooling. Use of best practice planting techniques and the benefits of the agroforestry approach will leave behind a fertile soil which will enhance the attractiveness of Moringa’s projects.

Alongside CBR, the cornerstone investors (who provided support from an early stage) are FISEAi and the CAF – the development Bank of Latin Americaii. Other investors committing to the first close include the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd (Finnfund), the Fund for Development Promotion of the Spanish Cooperation (FONPRODE), Korys (the investment holding company of the Colruyt family) and Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V (FMO). The first closing of the SICAR above the targeted EUR50m puts it well on its way to its EUR100m final target.

Hugo Ferreira, Deputy General Manager of CBR and Chairman of Moringa commented: ‘We are delighted that the Moringa SICAR has reached its first closing. The forward looking strategy of the SICAR will provide a strong platform on which to develop a portfolio of profitable projects with strong environmental and social credentials. CBR is committed to growing its range of private equity funds with an environmental focus and it will contribute its significant financial expertise, unparalleled network and experience of operating in Africa and Latin America to ensure the success of the vehicle. In addition, CBR has made a significant financial commitment as a sign of confidence in the Moringa team and the investment strategy’.

Martin Perrier, CEO of ONF International said: ‘The countries and regions in which Moringa will operate are well known to the ONFI and we have strong expertise and network in the key areas of forestry, agroforestry and agriculture. We will work extremely closely with the Moringa team throughout all phases of the investment process, from deal sourcing through to portfolio company support. Our teams in Africa and Latin America will also be closely involved and the proximity of our staff will enable us to provide strong support to each individual project. The investment by Moringa in commercially viable agroforestry projects will demonstrate the power of this simple technique, which has been practiced at local level for millennia, to generate financial returns and offer an alternative to less sustainable mono-culture approaches.’

Martin Poulsen, Partner, Moringa Partnership, stated that ‘The strong support of the two initiators, the investors, our technical partners, industrial groups and many other supporters has made this first closing possible. We have assembled a strong and unique platform, which will allow us to leverage the skills and experience of our partners, to implement this pioneering investment strategy. Hervé Bourguignon, Partner, Moringa Partnership, added that ‘Sustainability, environmental and social impact are at the core of Moringa. Not only will we produce an attractive financial return for our investors, but in our projects we will implement a partnership-based approach with local communities that will improve livelihoods and generate real, measurable environmental and social impact across our portfolio’.

Moringa will continue to forge additional partnerships with industrial partners, technical specialists and social and environmental experts. Alongside the investment vehicle, a grant-based Technical Assistance (TA) programme, which will contribute to project preparation, capacity building, technical strengthening and dissemination of Moringa’s innovations and achievements, is being established.