Local organic food producer clinches deal with American investment fund

Local organic food firm Organica Investment JSC today, January 9, struck an investment agreement with the SEAF Women’s Opportunity Fund (SWOF) – an investment fund managed by the U.S.-based SEAF. The fund will help the firm expand its retail store chain in Vietnam.

Organica said in a statement that the SEAF team, as a shareholder in Organica, will support the company in improving its financial management and broadening its business development opportunities in the future.

In addition to its equity investment, SWOF will also provide a long-term loan to Organica to ensure the company has sufficient capital to pursue its long-term growth plan.

Jennifer Buckley, senior managing director of SEAF, noted that the global investment manager SEAF, which targets small and medium-d enterprises with high growth potential in emerging markets, set up an office in Vietnam 11 years ago to manage two funds and has invested in more than 20 private companies operating in various business sectors.

Organica is the third investment made out of SEAF’s SWOF initiative, a new fund focusing on businesses founded and/or led by women and operating in sectors that have a significant positive social impact.

The SEAF team carried out extensive due diligence on Organica and its market and met all the key partners of the company, made visits to its farms and analyzed its financial and operational data.

Having satisfied SEAF’s operational and financial requirements, the company is also a strong fit for the other criteria set under SWOF. Its founder has scaled Organica from a HCMC-based small shop in 2013 to a chain of organic food retail stores pning HCMC, Hanoi and Danang.

“Organica is one of the organic food brands that is most widely recognized in Vietnam and is well trusted by both customers and business partners,” stated Buckley.

Buckley further noted that along with the expansion of its retail business, Organica has also invested in farms and cooperated with many farmers across the country to convert traditional agricultural production using chemical fertilizers and pesticides into nonchemical agricultural farming.

The company’s director, Pham Phuong Thao, pointed out that Organica and SEAF share the same core values, but it took nearly two years for them to build their partnership leading up to the signing of the agreement.

“As a startup company initially financed by only personal capital, we understand that now is the right time for Organica to bring in outside investors to grow stronger and realize the dream of bringing organic foods to more Vietnamese people,” stated Thao.

Although the investment amount was not disclosed, Thao revealed that the it was sufficient for the company to execute its business plan over the next two to three years.

The company will spend the fresh funds on opening more retail stores, upgrading online sales systems and investing in human resources and information technology systems that support its operations.




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