Abu Dhabi-based Pure Harvest Smart Farms has secured US$50 million in growth funding through a unique, Islamic structured finance solution – a highly structured ‘sukuk’ with embedded warrants – led by SHUAA Capital. The sukuk comes on the heels of a successful second growth equity raise of US$10 million, led by Sancta Capital in January 2021.
Founded in Abu Dhabi to provide the Middle East region with local, sustainable food sources, Pure Harvest, which will soon complete its third hybrid greenhouse growing system within the Emirates, is currently constructing its beachhead in Saudi Arabia, and has announced a further €39 million expansion project in Kuwait.
Upon completion of its new projects, the company will produce a variety of tomatoes, leafy greens, and berries, with plans to continue to diversify its offering in the future.
The capital raised through these transactions will be used to support Pure Harvest’s capacity expansions, attract new talent to the company’s fast-growing team, advance R&D activities (including various innovation projects in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office), and to facilitate new market entry.
Sky Kurtz, founder and CEO at Pure Harvest Smart Farms, said: “We are thrilled to have secured this innovative structured financing solution that supports our aggressive growth campaign within the GCC region. We are passionate about our mission to make local-for-local production of high-quality fresh produce possible anywhere, including within the harsh climate of our home the Arabian Gulf. World events like the COVID pandemic highlight the critical need for homegrown food solutions to reduce our reliance upon international supply chains. This type of financing underscores the innovation occurring within the region’s venture capital markets. Congratulations to our financing partners for this first-of-its-kind solution. We thank you for believing in us.”
Natasha Hannoun from SHUAA, the region’s leading asset management and investment banking platform, added: “At SHUAA, we have a strong track record in identifying businesses with market-leading propositions and teams and Pure Harvest fits this criterion perfectly. We witnessed Pure Harvest Smart Farms’ leadership in agriculture technology (agtech), the strength of the team, and its proven ability to execute, giving us the confidence that Pure Harvest has significant growth potential as it seeks to address the need for food security within the Gulf and wider region. We are delighted that SHUAA has been able to deliver this innovative and highly complex structured financing solution for Pure Harvest Smart Farms in another regional first. This funding will help the company to scale into a major regional player in controlled-environment agriculture and we are excited to back the region’s agtech champion when it comes to food security, sustainability and economic diversification.”
Mohieddine Kronfol, CIO of Global Sukuk and MENA Fixed Income at Franklin Templeton, explained why Pure Harvest is an attractive investment: “Investor interest in access to middle market credit transactions is increasing across the region, and is particularly exciting in growth sectors that are addressing global challenges like food security and water scarcity,” he said. “We’re backing the region’s pioneer in high-tech agriculture and supporting their efforts to have a large-scale impact in the markets they serve. This investment supports our ESG and Sharia compliant mandates, and we wish the company continued success.”
Gus Chehayeb, CIO of Sancta Capital, concluded: “Sancta Capital is proud to play an active role in Pure Harvest’s Sukuk and growth equity raises. The company is the region’s most advanced AgTechplayer and has built significant brand awareness, defensible intellectual property, and a top-tier management team with a large, vested interest in its success. Pure Harvest has proven that the Gulf can serve as an excellent agricultural base, where abundant sunlight, vast land, affordable electricity and labour, and ample CO2 can be optimized to beat the landed cost of comparable quality imported fresh produce from industrial greenhouses within Europe, resulting in compelling production economics. The company is enhancing the region’s food security, providing consumers fresher and more sustainable choices, creating local jobs, and driving lucrative opportunities for investors.”