New Amethis Acquisition Magriser Plans African Expansion Drive

Magriser Group, a Moroccan micro-irrigation company majority-owned by Amethis Finance Luxembourg Sarl, plans to expand into sub-Saharan Africa before seeking a listing on the Casablanca stock market.

The firm is also looking to reap the benefits from a subsidy system for Moroccan farmers that’s sparking increased investment in modern irrigation systems and grow its share of the sector from a current 8%, Chief Executive Officer Simohamed Azzouz said in an interview.

“The potential cannot be overstated,” Azzouz said by phone. Magriser, based in the northwestern Moroccan city of Mohammedia, this month completed the sale of a 63% stake to Amethis Fund II, part of the Africa-focused investment company, for a sum Azzouz wouldn’t disclose.

Magriser will begin operations in Senegal as the first part of a five-year expansion drive, after which it will be ready for a listing on Morocco’s bourse, said the CEO, who previously was a wealth manager at Natixis SA.

Founded in 1987, Magriser introduced drip irrigation to Morocco, a method that lets water slowly infuse the roots of crops, reducing evaporation. It’s used for olives, citrus fruits and strawberries, some of the North African nation’s main agricultural exports. Morocco ships more than $4 billion a year in farm products.

The government is targeting using the method for about 11%, or 935,000 hectares, of the kingdom’s farmland by 2027, up from around 6% currently, according to Agriculture Ministry data.

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