Private equity fund sees growing demand for table olives in Africa

Agri-Vie, a private equity fund that invests in agribusiness companies in sub-Saharan Africa, believes demand for table olives is set to grow across the continent.

Agri-Vie, headquartered in South Africa, recently announced it has bought a 63% stake in South African-based Cape Olive Holdings, the country’s largest table olive supplier.

Executive director at Agri-Vie Izak Strauss said the investment decision was made on the back of major growth opportunities for table olives, both in South Africa’s food services sector and exports to the rest of the continent.

“The emerging economies of sub-Saharan Africa are… driving up demand for condiment olives from hotels and restaurants, as well as food services producers and retailers in the region. Agri-Vie as major shareholders will strategically support the company’s expansion in the export market to Africa,” said Strauss in a media statement.

Fifty-five per cent of Cape Olive’s produce currently goes into table olives, with 45% of the raw product being supplied to olive oil producers.”

According to Strauss there is a growing demand for table olives as the condiments market grows due to an expanding middle class and urbanisation in Africa, coupled with an increasing demand from food manufacturing services, caterers, fast food outlets and restaurants.

“Table olives are a quality condiment and over the last three years we have maintained stable production converting our harvest into quality table olives. Raw olives are also sold to other producers for olive oil production. However, over this period we have identified a market for a different quality and different type of product and with Agri-Vie supporting the growth of the business we can now market a bigger percentage of our harvest into table olives products,” commented Richard Allen, CEO of Cape Olive Holdings.

According to Strauss, Agri-Vie is anticipating a good return on investment and will see growth in value within two to three years. “There are already developments underway to expand capability and capacity at the processing facilities and the business will produce more quality olives in a sustainable manner,” he said.