Phatisa Announces Its Partnership With Lona Group. Phatisa, together with a consortium of leading development finance institutions (“DFIs”), has acquired a significant minority stake in South African-based citrus and fresh-produce exporter, Lona Group (“Lona”), for an undisclosed sum. The investment will be used as expansion capital.
As one of the largest integrated fruit businesses in South Africa, the Lona Group is involved in activities across the food value chain, from: farming, aggregating and packing fruit (citrus, mango, grape, olives, and stonefruit), to: cold storage and logistics, marketing fruit for export and domestic consumption, plus fruit and vegetable processing. With line of sight across the entire value chain, Lona has tight controls, traceability, and reknowned reliability amongst customers.
Martin Kromat, Senior Partner at Phatisa said in a statement, “Growing from humble roots, Spencer and his team have built an impressive business, which Phatisa has been attracted to for some time. Integral to our negotiations with them has been our partnership philosophy, and shared belief that we can achieve commercial outcomes while safeguarding the environment and communities which Lona touches. Together with our co-investment partners, we are genuinely excited to play our part in the business’ continued growth and domestic as well as export expansion.”
Established by CEO, Spencer Johnson, in 1996 from his father’s garage, Lona now exports c. 5 million cartons of citrus, in addition to a significant volume of other fresh produce each year – predominantly to the UK and Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia, and increasingly to the rest of the African continent. Beyond its farming and packhouse operations in the Western and Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Zimbabwe, Lona has developed some of the most advanced automated cold storage facilities on the continent.