South African artisanal cheese maker Fairview Cheese Company gains equity investment from EXEO Capital

SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa’s leading artisanal cheese producer, Fairview Cheese Company, has welcomed a new partner in its business, EXEO Capital through its newly formed food sector investment vehicle, Nurture Foods.

The Fairview Cheese Company was established in 1980 by the Back family and produces more than 50 cow’s and goat’s milk cheese varieties.

Without disclosing the invested amount, EXEO Capital revealed that the Back family retain a significant stake in the business following the deal.

The partnership will enable Fairview Cheese to expand its artisanal offer and develop valuable new export markets.

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“We are very excited to take Fairview Cheese to a wider international market,” commented Louis Lourens, Managing Director of The Fairview Cheese Company.

Also, the deal will enable the empowerment of Fairview Workers Trust to benefit from the anticipated growth of the brand, through the establishment of a goat milk supply company, owned by the workers of Fairview.

Accoriding to Riël Malan, Executive Chairman of Nurture Foods and Partner at EXEO Capital, a strong brand like Fairview sets the tone and lays the foundation for the establishment of Nurture Foods as a very focussed investment platform that provides investors exposure to the defensive convenience and functional food sector.

“Globally, the trend towards greater convenience, functional effects of food and consumer support of artisanal and ethical brands, is gaining momentum.

“Nurture Foods aims to partner with artisanal brands such as Fairview to achieve greater market penetration, efficiency through technology application and generally to support the platform businesses in growing a larger domestic and export market,” he added.

Nurture Foods was established by EXEO Capital through its Food and Agribusiness fund, Agri-Vie Fund II, as a vehicle to drive longer-term investing in the growing convenience & functional food sector.

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Using EXEO’s 13 years’ investment experience in the food sector in Sub-Sahara Africa, Nurture Foods will be partnering with seasoned food entrepreneurs to build a platform of synergistic businesses that will grow and develop this highly differentiated sub-sector.

The investment follows, EXEO’s recent exit from Cape Olive Holdings, one of South Africa’s largest table olive suppliers, and offloading its stake to Imibala, a subsidiary of the Lona Group and co-shareholder in Cape Olive.

EXEO Capital acquired 62.7% shares of the olive firm in 2013 via its Food and Agribusiness fund, Agri-Vie Fund I.

Prior to that, the Pan-African alternative investment firm through Agri-Vie Fund II invested in Maia Group, a South African holding company focused on consumer health businesses.

Closing the year 2020, EXEO injected an undisclosed amount of investment in one of Eastern Africa’s leading ice cream and chocolate confectionery manufacturers operating from Kenya, Glacier Products.

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