Frontier markets-focused investor EMIA backs Cambodian rice producer Amru

Frontier markets-focused investor EMIA backs Cambodian rice producer Amru

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Singapore-based Emerging Markets Investment Advisers (EMIA), a private equity fund manager focussed on frontier markets, has backed Amru Rice, Cambodia’s largest organic rice producer and exporter, according to a statement.

The size of the investment was not disclosed.

Launched in 2011, Amru aims to support farmers’ welfare with a contract farming model that offers an incentive system and capacity development programmes, according to the release.

The firm, which started as a small rice trading company, has worked with over 20,000 local farmers – over half of whom are women – and served customers across Europe, North America and Asia. It has also received support from global government agencies, such as the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development and the International Financial Cooperation (IFC).

EMIA made the investment from its third vehicle — the ASEAN Frontier Markets Fund (AFMF) that secured a first close of $50 million last month, as reported by DealStreetAsia. The fund targets to achieve a final close at $90 million by the end of 2023, with a hard cap of $120 million, EMIA chief executive officer Joshua Morris had said at the time.

Amru is the first portfolio company of the AFMF, which is targeting Cambodia and Laos, with options to look at allocation in other ASEAN markets. However, unlike its predecessor vehicles, the AFMF will exclude Myanmar following the military coup. 

“Amru’s fast-growing profile, distinguished role in Cambodia’s economic development, and unprecedented approach to social empowerment and environmental protection epitomise the characteristics of companies we are keen to support,” said Morris in the statement.

As reported by DealStreetAsia earlier, development finance institutions such as the International Finance Corporation and FMO had committed capital to AFMF.

EMIA’s second fund — Cambodia-Laos Development Fund I — had raised $64.5 million and was fully deployed across 13 investments. The debut fund — Cambodia-Laos Development Fund — closed at $19.65 million. In terms of exits, these two funds have divested seven investments through sales to strategic buyers, financial investors, and management buyouts.

From its first and second funds, EMIA has backed companies such as Myanmar’s online travel platform Oway; bakery and coffee chain Joma in Vietnam and Cambodia; Phnom Penh-based housing financing company First Finance; Cambodia’s largest general insurer Forte Insurance; and Laotian internet service provider Planet Online, among others.

Edited by: Pramod Mathew

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