London-based Africa Renewables aims to raise €30M for wood chipping facilities across West Africa, contracts with African agribusiness group SIFCA to process, transport wood chips made from spent rubber trees in Ghana
July 8, 2011
– Africa Renewables Ltd ("AfriRen"), the London headquartered international renewable energy trading company, has launched a fresh round of fundraising for biomass projects across West Africa. The firm is seeking up to €30 million from qualified investors to help fund a series of sustainable initiatives across the region. The first project, in Ghana, will require a €5 million in investment. The target investment will fund biomass extraction and exportation projects in markets across the Western African countries over the next four years. As a result, AfriRen expects to grow annual production from 150,000 MT to 500,000 MT in that period.
AfriRen's first energy trading project, a biomass extraction chain in Ghana, harvests redundant rubber trees and processes them into woodchips, which are then sold to European power houses and businesses in order to displace the burning of coal. The project is facilitated by an eight-year partnership with the Ghana Rubber Estates Ltd (GREL), a subsidiary of SIFCA, West Africa’s no. 1 agro-industrial group with a €600 million turnover.
AfriRen’s partnership with GREL breaks new ground in connecting African produced biomass to European energy firms. Currently, almost all biomass currently imported into the EU comes from the Americas.
Jean-Francois Guillon, AfriRen CEO and a veteran energy trader at Vitol and Africa specialist, said: "We are seeking strategic investors in London and internationally who have a track record and deep understanding of investment in Africa. AfriRen projects are multi-national, are made across the supply chain to maximise returns. Most importantly, and unlike other biomass producers, our supplies are guaranteed. We have already had interest from a number of private equity firms and the current investment climate seems to be positive. The fact that David Billon, a main shareholder of the SIFCA group, is investing with us is a huge endorsement of our business."
Sonia Medina, AfriRen COO and a former carbon project specialist, said: “We aim to become the largest biomass producer in Africa and to treble the amount exported from the continent to Europe over the next four years. This will mean growing our first biomass project from eight shipments a year worth €7.2 million to shipments worth €58 million.”
About Africa Renewables Ltd
Africa Renewables Ltd. (AfriRen) provides the European utilities industry with stable, long term supplies of quality biomass. Founded by senior energy trader J.F. Guillon in April 2010 to develop renewable energy projects in Africa, AfriRen employs cutting edge technology and operations whilst respecting the environment and local communities. With a headquarters in London and offices in Accra and Abidjan, AfriRen forms a link that ensures both customer and vendor fully benefit from the new opportunities provided by sustainable African biomass. www.afriren.com
About SIFCA Group
SIFCA is the number one agro-industrial group in West Africa, headquartered in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. SIFCA was founded in 1964 in Ivory Coast specializing in cocoa and coffee production. Over the last 40+ years it has grown to be the largest agro-industrial group with operations in all countries of West Africa. SIFCA is a major employer and contributor to the economy of the region with a 21,000+ strong workforce, €600 million in turnover and €69 million in Net results.
About Jean-Francois Guillon, Founder and CEO
Jean-Francois has over 25 years experience in commodities and energy trading, having worked at Vitol from 1983 to 2010, first as a physical oil trader and later as a carbon project originator. He has extensive expertise in the oil sector, carbon trading and renewable energy. He has extensive knowledge of the African environment, both from a commercial and a logistics point of view. With AfriRen, Jean-Francois is engaged in a long-term mission focused on the development of energy infrastructure in Africa from renewable sources. He wants AfriRen to provide the link for European commercial partners who are looking to secure long-term biomass supply contracts or seeking to invest in renewable power generation in Africa.
Sonia Medina, Partner and Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Sonia has a formidable track record in the international and American greenhouse gas mitigation markets, particularly in carbon project development, capacity building, and carbon transactions. Sonia worked at EcoSecurities, one of the largest carbon offset project developers in the world, from its start-up phase through to its acquisition by J.P. Morgan & Chase in early 2010. During a seven-year period there, she held the position of US Country Director in charge of US strategy and operations; before that she acted as Global Head of Origination managing 20 local teams on four continents, identifying, assessing and contracting greenhouse gas emission reduction projects. Prior to joining EcoSecurities, Sonia worked on climate change and energy issues at the United Nations Environment Programme in Paris.