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Carlyle Group Acquires South African Food Preservation Company Tessara

August 4, 2018

South Africa based Tessara, a manufacturer of preservation technologies for the marketing and export of fresh produce, was just acquired by Washington, D.C. based Global alternative asset manager the Carlyle Group.

The transaction closed on 31 July 2018 and funding for this investment came from Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund. Financial terms are not disclosed.

Founded in 1985, Tessara is a well-established business with a strong brand and a growing global market position in Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)-based sheets for use in the preservation of fresh produce. Its flagship product is Uvasys, a SO2-based sheet, primarily used to protect table grapes against Botrytis infection, which is responsible for almost 50% of all post-harvest agricultural loss. Uvasys also enhances transportation, export and storage of grapes. Tessara has rapidly grown its business both in South Africa and internationally with exports now representing more than 65% of annual sales.

Tessara employs more than 150 people and has manufacturing facilities in Cape Town, South Africa. The company operates through a network of 15 distributors and it has built strong relationships with both suppliers and customers.

Bruce Steen, Principal in Carlyle’s Sub-Saharan Africa Fund, said: “Tessara is a great business with exciting growth prospects. Led by an experienced, talented management team, Tessara has built an impressive reputation for its core product whilst investing in R&D and the opportunity that exists to expand the product pipeline and broaden the application of SO2 sheets. We look forward to partnering with Tessara at this exciting time, supporting their continued growth and innovation and fueling expansion into new products and markets, especially China and USA.”

Craig Cloete, CEO of Tessara, said: “We are delighted to partner with Carlyle as we embark on a new chapter of development. We believe Carlyle’s global network, scale and experience, supporting international growth, will help us boost our sales and expand into new markets.”

Carlyle was advised on the transaction by Webber Wentzel and Ernst & Young.

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