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AAF SME Fund Impact: Interfresh


Business Challenge

Interfresh is a diversified agro-based group involved in the production, processing and marketing of agricultural, horticultural, agro industrial and allied food products for both the local and international markets.

Interfresh underwent restructuring and rehabilitation activities in 2012 which rendered the company’s cash flow negative. The company was publicly listed but could not access further liquidity in the market due to the negative perception of the economic environment and a tight liquidity environment. The inability to produce resulted in low stock levels on shelves and eroded brand awareness. Significant further capital investment was required for Interfresh to achieve full potential.

Our Approach

The AAF SME Fund has invested $4m in Interfresh since December 2012. The Fund’s approach was to ensure that significant control of the business would be achieved in order to run an aggressive restructuring exercise.

An MBO was engineered, together with a share rights process that enabled the Fund to delist the company. Agricultural inputs for the citrus and crops division were procured and the company’s beverage division was upgraded for Coca-Cola certification.

Our Impact

Improved Livelihoods

  • Planned future implementation of a smallholder scheme project through TAF worth approximately $500K. The intention is to use the company’s excess manufacturing capacity to process crops from smallholder farmers

Enhanced Food Security

  • Contributed towards orchard rehabilitation which increased yields by almost 400%. 349 tonnes of citrus  were de-greened in 2015 as against 293.8 tonnes in the previous year
  • Company to continue exploring increase in the production of seed maize, winter wheat and cash crops

Improved Business Operations

  • Invested over $1m to upgrade beverage plant for Coke certification. The certification will be finalised in 2016
  • Irrigation upgrade and resuscitation of citrus plantations
  • Rehabilitation of water pumping and irrigation infrastructure to allow for more efficient use of the water resources

ESG Impact

  • Played an instrumental role in negotiations relating to re-allocation by Government
  • Food safety hazard minimisation through compliance with Coke certification standards and HACCP implementation
  • Recapitalisation saved about 400 jobs at risk and allowed the infrastructure around the company to service the community (schools and clinics)
  • Improved water bodies protection through controlled fruit pulp and effluent disposal