Plantations et Huileries du Congo

Debt : December 2015

PHC is an established oil palm business in the DRC owned by Feronia.

Amount

€ 9,741,280.77

Type of investment

Debt

Development impacts

  • Local economic growth
  • Food security & rural development
  • Promotion of ESG best practices

Beneficiary locations

Sub-Saharan Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo

Investment field

Enterprises

Activity

Agriculture - Edible oil

Organisation

Plantations et Huileries du Congo

Domicile

DRC

It has over 100 years’ history and has three remote plantations in Lokutu, Yaligimba and Boteka, each located hundreds of kilometres from the nearest city and without substantial infrastructure. After the DRC Government, PHC is the largest employer in the DRC, with around 9000 permanent and temporary employees.

Feronia bought PHC from Unilever in 2009. At that time PHC had suffered years of underinvestment and disruption caused by conflict in the DRC. The two periods of major conflict in the DRC between 1996 and 2003 severely affected operations. Subsequently, while the business resumed operations, it went into a period of decline due to under-investment and lack of strategic support from its parent company. During this period, the local senior management, many of whom still work for PHC, and a core staff of approximately 3,000 people kept the business running to the best of their ability, often at great personal risk. Despite their best efforts, when Feronia acquired PHC in 2009, it was nearly extinct as a business.

Without Feronia’s intervention to buy PHC, and the subsequent investments from development finance institutions (DFIs) like BIO, it is highly unlikely that this historic company employing thousands of workers in a region where there is virtually no other formal employment would have survived.

Feronia’s website shows much of its progress and the company regularly publishes management reports and financial statements as a requirement of its status as a company listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange. The company’s plantations are not fenced, and public roads go through them, meaning anyone can come and see how they operate. Feronia is keen to work with NGOs and others who want to play a constructive role in helping improve the lives for the people who live in and around their plantations.

Development impacts

  • Local economic growth

    Employment effects as PHC is by far the biggest employer in the area. The transaction secures 3,632 permanent and 2,000 seasonal jobs (1,000 full time equivalents). PHC estimates that a total of 45,000 people benefit economically and socially from its activities.

    Net Export Effects: DRC is a major food importer, incl. palm oil. PHC’s production will substitute current imports

  • Food security & rural development

    Local production of high-quality oil

    Project will lead to important increase in local palm oil production capacity.

    The transaction improves the access of the population in the DRC to goods of basic needs (food security / edible oil)

  • Promotion of ESG best practices

    Lenders put in place an extensive action plan focusing on employment conditions, OHS, community involvement, health, education, etc.

    Lenders put in place an extensive action plan focusing on protection of biodiversity and forests, waste management, etc.

Read impact and news about this project

A Message on the Tragic Death of Mr Joël Imbangola Lokwa

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A Message on the Tragic Death of Mr Joël Imbangola Lokwa

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