Safir, a joint-venture between the French family-owned Nutriset Group and Mérieux NutriSciences and Bpifrance (the public investment bank) Bpifrance, created in 2019 to support investments in agribusiness on the African continent - is making its first equity investment in the company Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services.
In combining their complementary activities, the three partners are committed to the development and financing of projects in Africa, linking public health, nutritional issues and high impact local development
Furthermore, right from day one, the partners of Safir made clear their intention to explore the structuring of agri-food laboratories, particularly in East Africa. Above and beyond analysing local needs, this fresh approach seeks to satisfy the requirements to reinforce technical know-how and expertise, whilst contributing to the broader issues of local economic and social development.
On 29 March 2023, a threshold was crossed to formalize these commitments when Safir acquired a stake in Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services.
Founded in 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as a result of a partnership between the Belete family and Nutriset Group, Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services is an ISO 17025-certified agri-food, environmental and water testing laboratory.
The mission of Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services is to support the agricultural value chain and the food processing industry. In addition to the laboratory's own testing activities, Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services offers product inspection and certification services as well as training and consulting services.
In the presence of Mr. Belete Beyene, founder of Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services and its managing director Mr. Birhan Awoke, and representatives of Nutriset Group, Safir became a shareholder of Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services, alongside the founding shareholders, the Belete family and Nutriset Group.
"This acquisition will contribute to the growth of Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services and the development of our activities, including the chemical and microbiological testing of food products, the inspection and certification of these products and training services. This development will be accompanied by investments in industrial equipment and human resources development and will contribute to the strengthening of internal know-how," said Mr Birhan Awoke, Managing Director of Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services.
Thanks to this increase in capital, Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services has broadened its range of skills and now can benefit from the combined technical, industrial and management expertise of Safir's three shareholders - Nutriset Group, Mérieux NutriSciences and Bpifrance - to become tomorrow's benchmark agri-food laboratory in Ethiopia and its surrounding region.