South African private equity firm Agri-Vie is seeking opportunities in Nigerian food companies as the continent’s most populous country tries to reduce imports and diversify its economy away from oil. The fund, which had investments in 12 African food businesses, planned to target firms involved in the processing of grains, dairy, fruits, poultry and fast food in Nigeria, executive director Avril Stassen said last week. Nigeria’s government was trying to reverse decades of farming neglect and promote the industry as its “new frontier for growth” to ease dependence on crude, President Goodluck Jonathan said in July last year. Agri-Vie planned to more than double its investment fund next year to $285 million (R3 billion) from $110m and reach $500m in the next decade, Stassen said.

It would invest a maximum of $12m in each Nigerian business, without setting a number of targets. “We are interested in companies that are already profitable.” – Bloomberg