Apr 6, 2020
Wafra International Investment Company Invests In Food Security With $100M To Pure Harvest Smart Farms
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, April 6th, 2020: Pure Harvest Smart Farms (the “Company”), the region’s leading tech-enabled agribusiness, announced today it has secured a multi-stage investment commitment valued at over USD $100 million with Wafra International Investment Company (“Wafra”), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Public Institution for Social Security, making it the largest-ever agriculture technology investment in the MENAPT region. In connection with the investment in Pure Harvest Smart Farms, Ghazi Al-Hajeri, CEO of Wafra, will join Pure Harvest’s Board of Directors.
The strategic investment from Wafra will drive the Company’s development and deployment of advanced controlled-environment agriculture solutions across the region to sustainably grow premium quality fresh fruits & vegetables—regardless of outdoor climate conditions. Pure Harvest designs, builds and operates high-tech, climate-controlled greenhouse systems that convert the region’s abundant natural sunlight into premium quality, pesticide-free fresh fruits & vegetables. With core innovations in climate management solutions to maximize control of humidity and temperature, Pure Harvest has proven that it can create an optimal growing environment anywhere using substantially less water than traditional forms of agriculture.
“The global need for innovation in agriculture has never been greater. The recent COVID-19 crisis and resulting supply chain disruptions further highlight the need for sustainable local-for-local food production capacity, especially for fresh, nutrient-rich foods. This visionary multi-phase investment commitment from Wafra has given us the resources needed to secure our foothold as a pioneer in controlled-environment agriculture in the Middle East. Together with structured debt financing that we are simultaneously arranging, we will invest Wafra’s funds in growth, key hires, enhancing our technology portfolio, and ultimately to deliver our solution across the region – including in Wafra’s home market of Kuwait.” said Sky Kurtz, Founder & CEO, Pure Harvest Smart Farms.
"Wafra’s investment into Pure Harvest acknowledges the significant potential of controlled-environment agriculture in solving the food security challenges facing the Arabian Gulf region, including Kuwait" Mr. Al-Hajeri said. “The Arabian Gulf food system is undergoing a monumental shift toward a technology-enabled farming model in order to meet consumer demands for affordable, high quality foods. When you combine the local abundance of sunlight with energy & water-efficient climate management systems, the region makes a compelling case as one of the best places in the world for horticulture – a ‘contrarian’ thesis we believe in and that led us to invest in Pure Harvest. We have earmarked USD $100 million to support future expansions should the company continue to perform. We look forward to working alongside Pure Harvest to enhance food security, water conservation and economic diversification by building a more sustainable food future for Kuwait and our entire region,” said Ghazi Al-Hajeri, CEO of Wafra International Investment Company.
Wafra is an asset management firm with assets under management of approximately $6 billion across a variety of investment strategies.
David Scott, Pure Harvest's Chairman, added: "We are absolutely delighted to welcome Wafra into the ranks of our international shareholders. Wafra's investment comes at an exciting time and will allow Pure Harvest to achieve industrial economies of scale as the Company roles out its next generation of advanced greenhouse designs optimized for profitability and sustainability within the MENA region. This investment also demonstrates the caliber and far-sighted acumen of Wafra's leadership, whose actions have placed their institution on the virtuous side of the irresistible macro trends driving explosive growth in technology-enabled agriculture in this region and beyond."
Mahmoud Adi, Cofounder & Director at Pure Harvest and Shorooq Partners added: “We are proud to have backed this venture and its exceptional founding team since inception. At Shorooq, we fundamentally believed in the thesis early-on. Pure Harvest is now a recognized leader that is addressing regional food security at its core. The Company has now grown to such a scale that it is time to seek new investment partners to take it to the next level. Pure Harvest is a unique startup with a massive market opportunity, a proven business model, a capable leadership team, and is quickly becoming a winning story within the region that is so dear to me personally, to Shorooq, and to the UAE. We are extremely pleased to welcome Ghazi and Wafra to the team to support the Company’s next phase of growth.”
About Pure Harvest Smart Farms
Pure Harvest Smart Farms is a technology-enabled agribusiness based in the UAE, focused on year-round, sustainable production of premium quality fresh fruits & vegetables. As innovators of the Middle East’s first commercial-scale, semi-automated high-tech greenhouse, Pure Harvest leverages innovative growing technologies & horticultural best practices to enable local-for-local production of affordable, sustainably-grown, pesticide-free fresh produce anywhere. Pioneering controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) in the Middle East, Pure Harvest’s mission is to tackle some of the region’s biggest problems using technology to provide agriculture solutions that address food security, water conservation, economic diversification, and sustainability needs. For more information please visit www.pureharvest.ae.
Wafra International Investment Company (Kuwait) (“Wafra”) was established in 1994 as a Kuwaiti shareholding closed company. Wafra’s capital amounts to KD 15 million (USD 48 million). Shareholders’ equity reached KD 83 million (USD 268 million) as of December 31, 2019. ‘Wafra’ manages a wide variety of investment funds and portfolios, with assets under management of approximately KD 1.9 billion (USD 6 billion) as of December 31, 2019.
Wafra’s investment strategy is based on the principle of diversification with regards to sectors and geographical distribution. This includes the use of various investment tools and products which provide an efficient balance between risk boundaries and rates of return for portfolios managed for medium and long-term duration. Wafra is set apart by its highly-qualified personnel, experienced in the field of investment generally, and particularly in asset management. The Company is eager to build strong relationships with its clients, based on mutual trust, honesty and transparency. For more information, please visit www.wafra-kuwait.com.