African-focused investment holding company Maris closes US$12m financing round with Proparco

AFRICA – Maris, an investment holding company with more than US$100m under management across nine sub-Saharan African countries, has received a US$12m financing from France’s development finance institution, Proparco.

The climate-aligned investment targets renewable energy, agriculture, forestry and business services and will help Maris build its diverse portfolio of businesses across Africa.

It will support a range of Maris operating companies, including Evergreen Herbs under its agriculture platform – Agris, which has successfully rehabilitated two distressed herb farms and is now producing more than 90 tonnes per month of fresh herbs for export.

Evergreen Fresh has rapidly become one of the leading fresh fruit and vegetable distributors in Kenya following its expansion in 2020 with installation of a new farm in Kajiado county.

The new farm added 15 hectares of greenhouses and 6 ha of open field production to their existing 25 ha production site at Athi River.

Agris is also developing a centre of excellence for avocado production and research in Naivasha, Kenya.

Proparco’s new investment will also facilitate Agris Carbon Ventures, a forestry and carbon development business with new projects in the pipeline across Africa.

In addition, it will support growth of Maris’ other portfolio companies including Equator Energy, Equator Mobility, and META Group.

“We are delighted to be working with Proparco again, after a successful exit from the Maris Africa Fund in 2014, shortly before our transition to a Permanent Capital Vehicle

“We are committed to supporting and scaling our existing portfolio of businesses and are looking to invest additional capital in more climate-aligned investments.

“Proparco’s investment, through the FISEA+ initiative, will help us build capacity across Maris’ core operating divisions, accelerating the growth of the group,” says Charlie Tryon, Maris CEO.

Proparco’s investment is made under the FISEA+ initiative, a high-impact investment facility dedicated to supporting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa.

It is owned by Proparco’s parent company, the French Development Agency (AFD) and is part of the Choose Africa initiative.

“Proparco is again supporting a key impact investor whose investment philosophy aligns with the FISEA+’s mandate of supporting SMEs in fragile countries. The investment also meets our sector objectives in renewable energy and agriculture,” said Françoise Lombard, Proparco CEO.

Since 2009, Maris has started-up and built a portfolio of more than 20 SMEs across 11 countries in East and Southern Africa, creating more than 2,500 new direct jobs and maintaining more than 500 existing jobs.

Women represent 40% of total employment, which qualifies Maris for the #2XChallenge, a global gender finance initiative.

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