XSML invests in transportation in Congo

Today, XSML, the fund manager active in Central Africa, announced its investment in Cotrama Sprl (Cotrama). Cotrama is active in trade and transport mainly between Kinshasa and Bas-Congo province. With a fleet of around 40 trucks it is one of the larger transport companies in Bas-Congo. Cotrama’s main clients are large corporates and trading companies.


Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

XSML’s investment allows Cotrama to expand and to modernize their fleet as well as open up an additional petrol station in Bas-Congo. The petrol station, to be opened in 2014, is a modern petrol station including a grocery shop and logistics capacity. Cotrama operates from its headquarters in Limete, Kinshasa with offices in Bas-Congo and has 120 employees.

The IMF expects Congo to grow at 10.5% in 2014 from 6.4% in 2013, driven mainly by expansion of the mining sector. The accelerated growth will translate into additional trade and transport opportunities. The transport market in Congo, DRC is highly fragmented with many small operators and only a few larger ones that offer reliable transport services. The investment made by the fund enables Cotrama to strengthen its position on the transportation market in Bas-Congo.

The Managing Director of Cotrama, Mr. Minesi states: “With the long term financing provided by the Central Africa SME Fund, Cotrama is now able to expand its current fleet as well as open up an additional petrol station in Bas-Congo. We expect increased demand for our transport services on the route from Kinshasa to the ports in Bas-Congo. Our new petrol station has an excellent location and will include a retail outlet for groceries and other essential consumer goods.”

Marcel Posthuma, Managing Partner at XSML says: “With increased growth expected for Congo in 2014, demand for reliable transport between Kinshasa and Bas-Congo will further increase. In addition Congo is investing heavily in paved roads, opening up the country further for road transport. Cotrama is one the largest transport companies with modern trucks in Bas-Congo and our aim is to expand their leading position in the region.”

Cotrama is the eighteenth investment made by CASF and its fifteenth investment in DRC. CASF is an investment fund investing in small and medium-sized enterprises in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. The fund is based on the belief that sustainable economic development in the fast growing markets of DRC and CAR can be achieved by encouraging entrepreneurship. Currently, many opportunities in these countries remain unexploited due to the lack of risk capital and support.  By stimulating entrepreneurial endeavors jobs and income are created. CASF is a USD 19m fund with 80% allocation to DRC and 20% in CAR. CASF provides risk capital with an investment size ranging from USD 100,000 to a maximum of USD 500,000. Investors in CASF are IFC, FMO and the Lundin Foundation.


About Cotrama Sprl

Cotrama Sprl is located in Limete, Kinshasa, DRC. Cotrama is one the larger transportation companies in Bas-Congo offering reliable transport and trade services between Kinshasa and the ports in Bas-Congo. Cotrama’s main customers are corporates and trading companies active in Bas-Congo province and Kinshasa.


About XSML

XSML is an independent investment fund manager with a focus on frontier markets. While building and managing funds for these markets, XSML, eXtra Small Medium Large, aims to help grow small businesses into medium and large enterprises. XSML was founded in 2008. The managing partners have an extensive background in emerging markets in the areas of asset management, corporate and development banking and corporate restructuring. Our experience has shown that demand for finance from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) remains largely untapped despite increased interest in frontier markets from international investors. XSML bridges the gap between international investors and SMEs in these markets. XSML is currently fundraising its second fund: the African Rivers Fund.