agrimoney.com | 26 March 2010
Feronia has taken a shot at a promotion up the league of farm operators, raising $15.0m in a private placement and taking its first steps towards a stockmarket listing.
The Africa farms operator, whose company mission is to be "the largest agricultural producer in Africa", raised the cash from both institutions and private investors to develop oil palm plantations in the Democratic Republic of Congo which were bought from Unilever last year.
Feronia also unveiled the all-share takeover of GTM Capital Corporation, a shell company registered as a so-called "reporting issuer" in three Canadian provinces, a status which, while falling short of a listing, comes with regulatory obligations.
The GTM deal, which counts as a reverse takeover, will provide Feronia with a short-cut to the TSX Venture Exchange, where its shares should start trading in May, said Catherine Stretch, chief operating officer, at Navina Asset Management, Feronia's biggest investor.
"It avoids, for instance, having to go through the process of issuing a prospectus," she told Agrimoney.com.
The move will place Feronia among the select group of listed agricultural operators in Africa, a band which also includes Agriterra, which runs corn and beef operations in southern Africa, and Liberia plantations group Equatorial Palm Oil, which floated in London last month.
Camellia, the nuts-to-banking group, runs tea plantations in Kenya and Malawi.Feronia, which specialises in rehabilitating abandoned farm land, was set up TriNorth Capital, a Navina fund, whose stake in Feronia will be diluted from 48% to about 22% by the capital raise and ETM deal.