Tanzanian entrepreneur Dewji intends to spend $2-4 billion in grain production via SPAC
Jump to heading Tanzanian entrepreneur Dewji intends to spend $2-4 billion in grain production via SPAC
Mohammed Dewji, the CEO of one of Tanzania's largest companies, says next year he hopes to list an agribusiness company worth up to $4 billion in London or New York, with funds collected mostly from development banks.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February pushed global grain and fertilizer prices skyrocketing, but they have since fallen back. In several African nations, inflation has since surged.
Dewji, 47, whose family enterprise MeTL Group has tens of thousands of employees, said that the new firm would produce grains and edible oils in Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique and the Central African Republic.
"This is a terrific method to deliver food security... with the ability to feed ourselves and feed the globe," he said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday in London.
He said that he intended to structure the enterprise, for which he still needs to obtain lands, as a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) and that he would put up $400 million as 10% to 20% of overall capital.
A roadshow to gather the remaining cash is scheduled for Q1 of 2023, according to Dewji, who also said that he is open to various kinds of fundraising.
SPACs are shell organizations that list on stock exchanges in order to combine with an existing company in order to take it public without going through the traditional IPO procedure. The asset class’ popularity has fallen this year.
Dewji anticipated that the new firm, which may expand into soybean and sugar plantations, could provide investors with a five- to ten-fold return over a decade, but that it would need "patient, impact, long-term investments."
MeTL, which is unlisted and works in a variety of industries such as textiles, logistics, and insurance, aims to spend $250 million in the next two to three years, with roughly 40% coming from bank loans, according to Dewji.
This would include building four new facilities in Tanzania to compete with Coca-Cola and Pepsi, as well as increasing output of sisal, a fiber plant used in textile manufacture, this year to 15,000 tons from 12,000. He said that MeTL's present yearly sales exceed $2 billion and are expected to climb this year owing to rising commodity prices. He refused to provide profit statistics.
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