A fund managed by Finnish development financier and impact investor Finnfund has invested in an Ethiopian poultry company.

The OP Finnfund Global Impact Fund I fund has invested $5m (€4.1m) in EthioChicken, one of the largest poultry companies in East Africa. The company has been financed by Finnfund since 2017.

Established in 2010, EthioChicken currently operates eight poultry farms and four hatcheries, which produce and supply young chicken for households in rural Ethiopia. EthioChicken is also a significant feed producer with its two feed mills. 

OP Finnfund Global Impact Fund I is the first global emerging markets impact fund in Finland. It focuses on three main industries in developing countries: renewable energy, financial institutions, and sustainable agriculture.

The fund seeks positive impacts on, for instance, climate change, food security, gender equality, and the availability of financing.

The second round of funding ended in December, and the total fund size now stands at €135m.

David Ellis, CEO of EthioChicken, said: ”We are very happy to welcome OP Finnfund Global Impact Fund I into the shareholding of the company. Finnfund has been one of our strongest allies and supporters, and we look forward to continuing to work with them and the fund as we scale up operations and continue our quest of making farmers healthier and wealthier through poultry.”

Tuomas Virtala, the head of asset management at OP Corporate Bank, said: “Improving nutrition and livelihoods in rural Ethiopia fits well to the investment strategy of OP Finnfund Global Impact Fund I. EthioChicken has done remarkable work in developing their business, and we are excited to support the work through this funding.”

Jari Matero, an associate director and head of agri and forestry portfolio at Finnfund, said: “EthioChicken is a true success story. Finnfund has been one of the key financiers for several years and actively supporting the development of the company.

”Ethiopia has experienced political unrest in the past years and the markets were impacted by COVID-19, but EthioChicken has done remarkably well. It is also clear that their work for better nutrition and job creation is needed more than ever.” 

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