CDC, the UK government’s development finance institution has acquired, through a private placement, a $10 million convertible debenture of Feronia, the agribusiness operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the terms of the deal, the debenture bears an annual interest rate of 12%, compounded semi-annually, and has a maturity date of January 22, 2015.
At the core of its Feronia’s portfolio is its palm oil business, Plantations et Huileries du Congo (PHC), which it acquired from Unilever in 2009. Feronia’s three, long-established, plantations, Lokutu, Yaligemba and Baketa produce crude palm oil and palm kernel oil, providing livelihoods for more than 8,000 people who are either directly or indirectly employed by the company. The plantations had suffered from years of underinvestment and disruption caused by the conflicts in the DRC, but now have been rebuilt and put back into production.
CDC is acquiring the debenture for investment purposes. The principal and unpaid, accrued interest can be converted by the CDC at any time before the maturity date at a conversion price of CAD$0.25.