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Johannesburg, South Africa, February 13, 2013
—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced an investment in South Africa-based Hans Merensky Holdings (Pty) Limited to support the expansion of its agribusiness and forestry operations. IFC’s investment promotes climate change mitigation through expanded timber plantation and encourages further South-South investment by promoting HMH’s growth in Latin America.
IFC will provide up to ZAR300 million (approximately $35 million) in equity to support HMH’s $120 million expansion project. The project is expected to generate 1,200 additional jobs—of which a significant portion will be filled by women—contribute to development in rural communities, and promote international best practices in environmental and social standards. IFC financing will support new avocado orchards in Africa and Latin America, expansion of its timber business in Southern Africa, improving technology to increase fruit and timber yields, improved product offerings, and expansion of its avocado exports into new markets.
Claus Lippert, Chief Executive Officer of HMH said, “Our relationship with IFC provides us with a global partner as we expand into Latin America and Africa that will help HMH improve our systems and achieve high standards in our business. Having IFC as a partner and shareholder sends a strong signal about HMH’s commitment to growth based on best practices and inclusive development in the agribusiness and forestry sectors.”
Oscar Chemerinski, IFC Regional Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness, and Services, said, “IFC has
a strategic priority to help Africa achieve food security and to develop its agribusiness and forestry sectors according to international best practices. IFC’s partnership with HMH demonstrates our commitment to working with well-managed, sustainability-driven companies with an ambition to expand at home and beyond.”
HMH exports about half of South Africa’s avocados to the European Union, where it is a market leader. It has pine and eucalyptus forest plantations in three South African provinces and four timber processing mills providing material for the country’s housing and manufacturing sector.
IFC has embarked on a special initiative to support agribusiness in Africa and contribute to increased food security. In its last fiscal year that ended in June 2012, IFC committed and mobilized $586 million in new agribusiness and forestry investments in Sub-Saharan Africa. It aims to more than triple its investment levels in these sectors over the next five years.
HMH is a renewable bio-resource company that was established more than 60 years ago. HMH has agribusiness (Westfalia) and forestry (Merensky) operations with vertically-integrated value chains. HMH is committed to the principles of sustainable business that is socially and environmentally responsible, and the principles of hygienic and safe food processing and fair human resource management are implemented throughout. Compliance with global standards of sound production and distribution practices is rigorous while a deep commitment to scientific research and practical innovation is fundamental to its continued success. For more information on HMH, visit
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit
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