Aavishkaar Frontier Fund, an India-based private equity fund, has successfully negotiated a capital infusion of Rs.300 million into Sri Lanka’s MA’s Foods, a leading food processing company in the country.
MA’s, which celebrated its 30th year in existence this year, is pushing ahead with a new phase of growth with this fund infusion, which also marks the first investment of Aavishkaar Frontier Fund in Sri Lanka.
Aavishkaar is well known as a global pioneer in entrepreneurship-based approach to development through venture capital investments in enterprises working with the low-income population in rural and underserved markets.
Aavishkaar began with a focus on early-stage enterprises operating in India and with the Frontier Fund, it is now working with enterprises in South and Southeast Asia.
MA’s investment is the second investment from its Frontier Fund, a regional fund which invests in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan. Since its incorporation in 2002, Aavishkaar has made more than 50 investments and currently manages US $ 200 million of funds.
MA’s Foods has matured from an ingredient supplier to a diverse food solutions provider with the inclusion of industry professionals to compliment the family management team.
The investment will enable MA’s Foods to meet its expansion into the North of Sri Lanka with a state-of-the-art factory creating opportunities for the conflict-ravaged communities and meeting the objectives of its strategic succession plan.
MA’s Foods is the manufacturer of some of the country’s most popular brands including MA’s Kitchen, Happy Home, Dad’s Garden and Pasta Roma.
MA’s markets a large portfolio of organic, fair-trade and conventional gourmet meal solutions including spices, seasonings, curry pastes, sauces, ready-to-eat foods and coconut-based products and has export markets in quality destinations such as Japan, Germany and Holland.
The backward integrated company has been uncompromising in food safety and quality standards, sustainable practices and its responsibilities to the communities it works with. MA’s has a number of international certifications on food safety (FSSC2200), organic produce (EU, JAS and NOP), fair trade (FLO) and social and environmental best practice (ISO 14000, OHSAS 18000, SEDEX).
“MA’s has tremendous potential for scaling up its business with its combination of excellent management team, established local brands, longstanding international relationships, significant backward linkages and commitment to sustainability and fair trade. Aavishkaar is very happy to have found the right partner in MA’s for its first investment in Sri Lanka,” said Aavishkaar Partner Sanchayan Chakraborty.
“It is fantastic motivation and a privilege to work with Aavishkaar Frontier Fund, which shares many of our parents’ values and business ethics giving us the second generation the opportunity to take the company to its next phase of growth. In the coming months, we will continue with our vision of ‘being an inseparable part of every kitchen’ while ‘crafting tasteful moments’ for desiring families around the world with much more vigour,” said Maliek De Alwis, an Agribusiness graduate from the University of Adelaide and current CEO of the company.
“What’s great is we get to continue with our social commitments and responsibilities to the communities we work with, while growing the company to its next stage,” said his younger brother Sheran, an Australian-qualified food technologist and the company’s Chief Compliance Officer.