8 Miles backs African tropical fruit producer

8 Miles, a pan-African private equity firm, has invested in Blue Skies, a UK-incorporated business with operations in several African countries that is the leader in the production of fresh-cut tropical fruit for European supermarkets.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

The investment gives 8 Miles a significant minority stake alongside the founder investors and management team.

Blue Skies produces premium quality shelf-ready fresh-cut fruit and freshly squeezed juice products which it supplies on a daily basis to various European retailers.

The company was founded by Anthony Pile in 1997 with the philosophy of “fresh from harvest fruit” and “adding value at source”.

It currently has operations in Ghana, South Africa, Egypt, Brazil and the UK, employing more than 4,000 people.

Among some of the fruits processed are pineapple, melon, kiwi, papaya, mango, grape, citrus, banana and lychee.

Doug Agble, Partner at 8 Miles, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to partner with a highly successful founder and a top-quality management team who have built a business based on solid and unique foundations. We aim to support Blue Skies in their continued growth and help them develop their brand across Africa.”

The investment will help the company to expand its core fresh cut fruit business, increase production capacity in South Africa, launch a fresh juice operation in Egypt and develop new product lines for some of its markets in Africa.

Anthony Pile, Chairman and founder of Blue Skies, said: “We are pleased that 8 Miles have joined us. They are fully aligned with the core values of Blue Skies and their deep understanding of African markets and extensive networks will help us in this exciting phase of growth”.

Blue Skies was advised by Gerald Couldrake and Matthew Thompson from Howes Percival LLP, and Mike Brown and Craig Chamberlain from MacIntyre Hudson LLP.

8 Miles was advised by Simon Tinkler and Danny Mutisya from Clifford Chance, and Sandip Shah and Andrew Maxwell-Scott from KPMG.

8 Miles LLP is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority and the Fund is only open to institutional and qualified investors. Source: Africa Global Funds

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