UK investment firm AgDevCo has invested US$9.75M in DekelOil, a large-scale palm oil producer in Côte d'Ivoire.

AgDevCo said its investment would consist of a 10-year €7.2M (US$8M) senior secured loan to DekelOil Cote d’Ivoire and a €1.5M (US$1.68M) equity investment into its parent company DekelOil Public, in exchange for a 9.7% stake.

“Our investment will be used to strengthen DekelOil’s balance sheet through the refinancing of short and medium-term debt facilities, thereby freeing up cashflow for working capital and growth initiatives; and finance DekelOil’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) activities,” AgDevCo said in a statement.

More specifically, the financing would support the completion of DekelOil’s Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification and implement a traceability programme which would ensure the fruit was ethically and sustainably sourced from smallholder growers.

UK agribusiness DekelOil said it had the capacity to produce 70,000 tonnes/year of crude palm oil (CPO), making it one of the West Africa’s largest palm oil producers. The company had an oil palm nursery with a capacity of 1M plants/year, supply agreements covering 27,000ha of local oil palm estates, 1,886ha of plantations and a 60 tonne/hour fresh fruit bunch processing mill. The company also had rights over 24,000ha of expansion land, which would be used to provide additional feedstock for crude palm oil production, it said.

“The AgDevCo loan is a strong endorsement of our strategy to build DekelOil into a leading West African focused agricultural company.” DekelOil executive director, Lincoln Moore said.

“Our collaborative palm oil model benefits local communities and shareholders alike, and we intend to do the same with our large-scale cashew processing project at Tiebissou, Ivory Coast when production commences in 2020.”