LOCAL fish farming company, SanLei, is set to become one of the largest trout operations in Africa after securing investments to fund its expansion and double its current production capacity.
Although the company did not say how much the investment is worth, it said the deal has resulted in One Thousand & One Voices, a private family capital fund backed from the United States, acquiring an undisclosed stake in SanLei.
Other shareholders in the company are Mergence Investment Managers Lesotho (Pty) Ltd, which acquired an undisclosed minority stake in SanLei on behalf of the Basotho as part of the same transaction.
Mergence Lesotho is part of an international investments company with interest in different African countries and across the world.
Semoli Mokhanoi, Mergence’s southern Africa and head distribution, said the investment would accelerate international opportunities for the company and the country.
“We are excited about what the future holds for this Lesotho company,” Mr Mokhanoi said.
“With the benefit of a strong Lesotho-based shareholder in its capital structure, SanLei is on a firm footing to further accelerate international opportunities, thereby benefiting the Kingdom of Lesotho and its people.”
A joint statement from Mergence Lesotho and One Thousand & One Voices said: “The transaction positions SanLei to accelerate its expansion towards becoming the largest trout operation of its kind in Africa”.
It however, could not be established how much the company currently produces and how much it hopes to produce after the deal.
For his part, Krijn Resoort, the chief executive officer of SanLei said local ownership in the company would empower Basotho.
“With Basotho in the capital structure, we believe SanLei is even better positioned than before for continued growth and expansion, which will allow us return capital to the investing families.”
The company is located on the shores of the Katse Dam in the remote highlands of Lesotho, a site known for its deep, pristine waters and highly favourable environment for growing premium trout.
The company supplies premium trout to regional and offshore export markets while creating jobs and contributing to food security in Lesotho.
Sanlei currently employs 90 Basotho while plans are underway to expand the production facilities and double the employment capacity in the next two years.
The announcement of the company’s recapitalisation coincides with the recent release of the Ocean and Coastal Fishing and Fish Farming in South Africa 2020 report. The report notes that aquaculture was becoming increasingly important with natural fish resources declining while the demand for fish is growing.