Vietnam-based private equity firm Mekong Capital’s latest $246 million fund has closed its first investment — an undisclosed amount in local chocolate crafter Marou Chocolate Company.
Marou Chocolate is one of the first bean-to-bar artisanal chocolate makers in Asia, according to a Mekong Capital statement. Marou is widely known for its single-origin dark chocolate bars. The company also runs three café-patisserie-chocolate factory concepts called Maison Marou in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. In 2020, it developed another concept offering on-the-go experience called Marou Station.
The investment by Mekong Enterprise Fund IV (MEF IV) will help Marou further scale up the Maison Marou and Marou Station concepts, develop new products, as well as build its leadership team, Mekong Capital said.
Founded in 2011 by two Frenchmen living in Vietnam, Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou, Marou produces its chocolate using only Vietnamese cacao, collected from six provinces in southern Vietnam.
The firm says it pay above-market rates, doubling cacao’s commodity price to local farmers for high-quality cacao beans, and offer farmers an alternative to the middle-men, according to its website.
MEF IV is Mekong Capital’s largest fund which was closed earlier this year. MEF IV will invest in the range of $10-35 million per deal, and can make both minority and buy-out investments.
Its predecessor fund, MEF III, which was launched in 2016 at $112 million, has closed nine deals so far and exited one company — jewellery retailer Precita.