ANPL picks minority stake in Afrisian Group’s Tanzania Project

Abhay Nutrition Pvt Ltd (ANPL), a seed processing company located at Jalna, Maharashtra, has taken a minority stake in a greenfield project in Tanzania, to be developed by the Afrisian Group.
The facility, to be based in the port city of Dar-es-salaam, will use ANPL’s technology to process cottonseeds, sunflower seeds and soybeans to produce high quality proteins and edible oils enhanced with biologically active micro-nutrients. It will process about 180,000 tonnes of seeds yearly.

The Afrisian Group is one of the largest exporters of pulses to India. It started business as a cotton ginner in 1997 and gradually increased its trading activities to include oil seed crushing, rice milling, and export of various agro based commodities, ANPL will also get a fee of $1 million for usage of its patented technologies. The plant is slated to begin operations by August 2017.

The company has developed its unique seed processing technology to extract protein from cotton seeds, rapeseeds and sunflower seeds. ANPL uses a single-stage extraction process that saves 90 per cent of water and energy that conventional technologies guzzle. The company has patented this technology, and another through which it produces edible oil that retains biologically active micro-nutrients.

It has also applied for 28 other patents related to extraction of alternative proteins and edible oils. Such proteins cater to cattle, poultry and aqua feed sectors, as well as refined oil and various by-products obtained through refining and purification processes.

Two rounds of funding
SEAF India Agribusiness Fund invested in the company in two rounds. The first was a disclosed investment of $5 million in 2011.

ANPL then raised another round in November 2014, in which SEAF invested $2 million, along with a similar amount from Middleland Capital,  a US-based investment firm that focusses on early-stage technology opportunities.
Details about the Tanzania stake, and the second funding round were shared exclusively with DEALSTREETASIA by Ashish Mantri, Managing Director, ANPL

“Our lower costs of extracting protein translates into lower costs for Indian farmers,” said Mantri. ANPL had revenue of Rs 475 crore ($68 million) in the last financial year. It had clocked Rs 90 crore when it received the first investment from SEAF in 2011.

Its plants have a total processing capacity of 300,000 tonnes per annum. ANPL had started as a small cotton seed crushing plant by Mantri’s family in 1983. In 2009, Mantri formed a new company and set up plants in Jalna and Bhule, Maharashtra, that incorporated new protein extraction techniques.

Edible oil brand

Mantri said that the company is working towards launching a new brand of edible oil, which he says will have more micro-nutrients than conventional brands.

In the last two decades, India’s edible oil production has risen only by a third, while imports have surged nearly 12 times to 14.4 million tonnes to keep pace with growing consumption. That has made India the world’s top buyer of cooking oils.

The country’s own crushing capacity is about 30 million tonnes, but that is only partially utilized because of shortage of oil seeds.

As of December 31, 2015, Washington, DC-based Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF) had made about 400 risk capital investments through 36 investment vehicles. It’s India unit — SEAF India Investment Advisors — is in the process of raising $150 million for its second fund.

The food and agribusiness market size in India is estimated at $375 billion, out of which food makes up $300 billion. The rest includes agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, non-edible products such as farming equipment, and crops like cotton and jute.

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