Wednesday, 11 June 2014 - 20:31
Largest rose farmer bought by private equity firm
The largest rose-growing company of the world, Afroflora, based in Ethiopia and owned by the Barnhoorn family from the Netherlands was taken over by the large private equity company KKR. The buyer will pay $200 million for the major stake of Afroflora. Last year, 730 million roses were grown by Afroflora in the enormous greenhouse near the Ethiopian Ziway. The rose farming company also rents additional 140 hectares from other flower growers. The money paid by KKR for Afroflora's major stake will be spent on the expansion of the space for growing flowers. Dutch rose-growing companies have established their greenhouses and fields in the eastern part of Africa since the 1990s. Many huge rose farms are based in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia. According to experts, the Ethiopian climate and soil are thought to be the most beneficial ones for roses. However, many such companies are criticized by human rights activists. They claim that many rose farmers exploit locals for working in fields and greenhouses. Afroflora, though, doesn't use any dishonest practices in its business, supports smaller entrepreneurs and even has the fair trade certificate. Nowadays the farm has more than 9000 employees and is planning to hire more people. Afroflora has been owned by Gerrit Barnhoorn, who is 67 years old now. After his company's purchase he is planning to go out of business, to sell his shares and to leave the management of the rose-growing company for his sons.