Ventureast, an early-growth and growth-stage investor, is making another bet on India’s domestic consumption story by investing Rs 25 crore in Coimbatore-based VKS Farms Pvt Ltd. The investment has been made through Ventureast Life Fund, which looks to invest in food and agriculture, clean environment and healthcare delivery sectors.
VKS Farms is an integrated meat processing company with the supply chain to deliver hygienic, processed and packaged meat. This is the first round of external funding for the company, which will be primarily used for backward integration and expanding retail outlets called Dola. The company currently retails its product in 23 company-owned outlets, which it plans to expand to 75 by March 2012.
VKS also exports its product to more than 30 countries. Its product mix includes chicken, egg, meat, banana and salt.
“Hygienic meat retailing is the way forward in this unorganised market. With a comprehensive and efficient supply chain in place, we expect VKS Farms to have a strong competitive edge in the sector. The company’s wide presence in the export market will supplement this,” said Shekhar Kundur, General Partner of Ventureast who has also joined the VKS board.
“The investment by Ventureast will position VKS to achieve fourfold growth in the next three years. The investment will be utilised to fund completion of the company’s backward integration and expansion of its meat-retailing initiative. These will enable VKS to deliver hygienic, processed meats to the end-consumer,” said A Sivakumar, founder & managing director of VKS Farms.
Ventureast has backed several companies in the food & beverages space. Most recently, it invested Rs 21 crore in Goli Vada Pav Pvt Ltd, which retails vada pav snack. Earlier, it has also invested in Sresta, an organic food company, and Dodla Dairy, a private sector dairy in southern India.
Another deal in this space took place when International Finance Corporation (IFC) invested $11 million in Suguna Poultry Farm back in 2006.
Consumption of meat has been rising in India. According to an AFP article that quoted Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, the country’s per capita consumption of broiler chicken has doubled to 2.26 kg per year in 2010 from 1.08 kg a decade ago. Per capita consumption of meat among Indians has also reached 5-5.5 kg a year, the highest since the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) began compiling records.
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