Biofuel Company Ethanol has secured funding of R825 million to continue construction of the first maize-to-ethanol plant in Bothaville in the Free State. This announcement comes amid recent allegations by maize farmers that their financial investments into the company have gone missing.
terling Waterford, a 35,71% shareholder in Ethanol Africa, has invested an additional R408 million into the project. outstanding amount will be obtained from borrowings. group’s bankers have committed to funding on a one-to-one debt-to-equity basis. Philip Bouwer, a director of Sterling Waterford, didn’t want to identify the other investors until the deal was finalised. L ast week Farmer’s Weekly reported that enraged farmers belonging to Grain Alcohol Investments (GAI), the company responsible for farmers’ interests, demanded release information about their R24 million investment in the project.
According to recent weekend newspaper reports, Africa’s financial statements for the financial year ending June last year reflected farmer investments of about million and other investments from Sterling Waterford. T he company’s managing director, Joe Kruger, said the available cash was used to acquire technology, conduct an environmental impact assessment and obtain engineering designs. Funds were also used to begin construction of the plant. E thanol Africa has also agreed that GAI can remain on its board of directors, even though GAI’s share in the company is now less than 25%. The statements revealed that GAI’s share of Ethanol declined as the company attracted more investors. Since June last year, GAI’s share has declined from 28,57% to 18%. – Wilma den Hartigh