Investing in fragile states: Feronia

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Investing in fragile states
The case of Feronia

In 2015, FMO provided a long long-term loan facility to Plantations et Huileries du Congo S.A (PHC), a palm oil business operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the DRC).

PHC produces crude palm oil and palm kernel oil for domestic consumption. PHC is owned by Feronia Inc, a Canadian agribusiness.

The business currently consists of three palm oil plantations in Boteka (circa 4,000 Ha), Yaligimba (circa 8,000 Ha) and Lokutu (circa 8,000 Ha) which are all in remote areas of the Congo. The business supports the livelihoods of over 100,000 people (through the multiplier effect of direct and indirect jobs and the hospitals and schools that the company provides).

It employs over 8,000 people (permanent as well as seasonal) and is the largest private sector agribusiness employer in the country. The agriculture sector, given its ability to create large numbers of jobs outside the main cities, is a key priority area for the Congolese government.

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PHC and Feronia

PHC was founded by Lever Brothers in 1911 and fell into disrepair during the Congolese wars. When Feronia acquired the palm oil business in 2009, the primary objective was to save the plantations and restart operations again.

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DFI involvement

Over the last six years DFIs have invested over US$100m into PHC. When we invested, we knew it would take a long term commitment to put the company and the surrounding communities back on a sound footing.

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Facts & Figures

DRC is the second largest country on the continent Africa, bordering Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

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Historic timeline

Huileries du Congo Belge was founded in 1911 by Lever Brothers (Unilever) to supply palm oil to its Port Sunlight soap factory in the UK. In 1997, the name was changed from Plantations Lever au Zaire to its current name Plantations et Huileries du Congo Sarl (PHC).

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Q&A

FMO invested in PHC because we believe in palm oil as a local food ingredient and in the role of the company to provide a livelihood, healthcare, and education facilities to the 100,000 people that depend on them.

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