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Q3 2023 - (released November 2023)

SA's quarterly Private Equity & Venture Capital magazine

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AIIM keeps its cool in temperature-controlled logistics

by Michael Avery

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In a strategic move to deepen its presence in the temperature-controlled logistics sector, African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), a subsidiary of Old Mutual Alternative Investments, has announced a substantial expansion of its Commercial Cold Holdings (CCH) platform.

This significant venture includes the acquisition of Sequence Logistics, a prominent player in temperature-controlled warehousing, distribution, and supply chain solutions across Southern Africa.


Under the leadership of AIIM Investment Director, Damilola Agbaje, CCH is poised to leverage enhanced equity commitments from AIIM-managed funds, AIIF4 and IDEAS Managed Fund, to fuel this transformative expansion. 


Agbaje is enthusiastic about the potential of this acquisition. 

"The deal will allow CCH to deliver on its mandate by securing attractive long-term partnerships with market-leading retailers, wholesalers and food producers," he says. 

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This strategic move comes hot on the heels of CCH's successful acquisition of CCS Logistics from Oceana Group Limited in 2022. With these two powerful acquisitions under its belt, CCH is primed to become a serious competitor in storage and load consolidation solutions in South Africa.


A key appointment to execute on this strategy is that of Paul Gibbons, a veteran with over two decades of experience in cold chain distribution and supply chain management. Gibbons, who now takes the helm as CEO, boasts a distinguished career that spans the orchestration of cold storage supply chains for over 30 FMCG food producers and three major retailers. He also brings his expertise to bear as Chair of the Global Cold Chain Alliance’s Africa advisory council.

Gibbons envisions a technology-driven approach as part of the blueprint for CCH's ascent, outlining plans to operate storage across nine facilities, with approximately 146,000 pallets spread across Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Walvis Bay in Namibia. He highlights Sequence Logistics' emphasis on technology as a pivotal enabler of its business, positioning it as a key asset in CCH's portfolio.


In Gibbons' words, "Load consolidation allows retail, wholesale, and food service partners to focus on service levels; maximising store space and optimising inventory levels, while ensuring on-time delivery of products as they are demanded by stores." This strategic move not only ensures predictability of cash flows, but also augments spend per customer.

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Beyond the business implications, AIIM underscores the societal and environmental impact of this venture. Temperature-controlled logistics infrastructure is seen as a linchpin for bolstering food security and creating higher-value jobs across sub-Saharan Africa. AIIM is committed to driving efficiency and sustainability, aiming for a 20% improvement in energy efficiency across the CCH platform.


Furthermore, a robust focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards is at the forefront of AIIM's strategy. Agbaje notes, "Our targets for ESG are to have 30% women employed by 2025, 30% women in management by 2025, and 30% women on the board by 2025. In addition, there will be 78 jobs created for new hires by 2025."


The acquisition process was facilitated by legal advisors ENS, with commercial advisory services provided by Frost and Sullivan, and tax and financial due diligence conducted by PwC. Arup played a pivotal role in the technical due diligence, while Investec provided advisory support to Sequence Logistics. 

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