Norwegian fund inSh255m talks with Orion EPZ
By - | July 30th 2012
By STANDARD REPORTER
Agro-chemical firm Orion EPZ is in talks with a leading Norwegian fund, which could result in the latter investing as much as $3 million in the Kenyan firm.
Norwegian impact investment fund, Voxtra has expressed intentions to invest in Orion East Africa EPZ to boost pyrethrum extraction and production for the world market.
Discussions towards this end were held in Nairobi last week between the two parties to fashion out a collaborative agreement and hammer a way forward.
Speaking after touring Orion EPZ factory at Athi-River, Voxtra Investment manager Gaute Ellingsen said his organisation had identified Orion as a potential beneficiary of its funds due to the firm’s long-standing relationship with farmers in Kenya through the widely acclaimed Kilimo Faida microfinance seasonal credit scheme.
“Voxtra is delighted to pursue negotiations with Orion since both organisations have a mutually-shared vision of investing for social impact,” Mr Ellingsen said during the tour.
Voxtra already has a footprint in Africa, with Tanzania being its main theatre. The firm has invested over $1.5 million in the Mtanga farms in Iringa, greatly improving the lives of local communities.
The mixed farming project was selected and funded by Voxtra after its owners demonstrated ability to socially impact local communities through the venture.
Orion EPZ Limited CEO, Ruo Maina reiterated that the firm Orion had the technical know-how, experience and capacity to engage sustainably in pyrethrum extraction and trade.
“Voxtra’s business agenda is perfectly aligned with our stated ambition to grow Orion into a leading pyrethrum extraction and manufacturer of plant health products for both local and export markets,” Maina emphasised.
Kenya is a leading producer of the natural insecticide, pyrethrins, that has been grown locally for export purposes for more than 50 years. Even then, local value addition has always been a challenge with most of the produce being exported in its raw form.
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