XSML supports the Ugandan fishing industry by investing in local ice production

Today, XSML, the fund manager active in Central & East Africa, announced an investment, through its African Rivers Fund, in Ice Industries, Uganda (ICE).

Kampala, Republic of Uganda, 19 July 2019

Ice Industries is a producer of flake ice, which is used mainly to keep fresh produce cold and is an essential element for the fishing sector in Uganda. ICE main clients are the thousands of small fishermen on Lake Victoria as well as fish distribution and export companies. The investment from ARF will be used to more than double the companies’ capacity of ice production, so that larger quantities of ice can be provided to the local fishing communities, at lower prices. The company also purchased two refrigerated trucks to deliver ice at nearby landing sites, where ice is not available.   

According to Norman Batuma, Director of Ice Industries: “With the funding from XSML we have been able to double our capacity, serving more fishermen with flake ice. Without ice the fishermen cannot go fishing. In the past, we did not always have sufficient ice for them. This additional capacity will be positive for the fishermen as well as for Ice Industries”.

Jarl Heijstee, Managing Partner at XSML says: “The fishing industry is vital for the economy of Uganda providing livelihood for tens of thousands of fishermen and their families. Ice has been a limiting factor and with this increase in capacity, we have more ice available but also at a more affordable price. With two refrigerated trucks ICE can also reach other nearby fishing communities. We expect to expand capacity again in the future as demand continues to grow.”

With the investment in Ice Industries, ARFs capital is almost fully committed. The African Rivers Fund (ARF) targets growing, well-managed small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Central & East African region covering Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Republic of Congo. The fund is named after the two most powerful rivers in Africa, the Congo and Nile Rivers, which embody the potential of the Central & East African region.

XSML believes that sustainable economic development in fast growing markets as the DRC and Uganda can be achieved by encouraging local entrepreneurship. Currently, many opportunities in these countries remain unexploited due to the lack of risk capital and support. By stimulating entrepreneurship, jobs and income are created. The African Rivers Fund continues CASF’s strategy with investments in between USD 100,000 and USD 5 million. Between the two funds XSML has provided technical assistance to over 35 companies to help them improve their operations and skills.  Evidence of further impact can be found in various fields, with some 1,000 direct jobs created since 2011, over 4,000 additional pupils spread over three private schools and the addition of some 60 hospital beds, and operating theatres and maternity rooms in three private hospitals in Kinshasa and Kampala, improving healthcare standards. All three investors in CASF (IFC, FMO and Lundin) were joined by Bio, CDC, DGGF, and Proparco for ARF.

About ICE

Ice Industries is a provider of flake ice for the fishing industry and the hospitality sector. Flake ice is mainly used in the fishing industry to keep fresh produce cold. Located at the landing site of Kigungu, near Entebbe, Ice Industries is situated close to the local fishermen. Ice Industries is owned and managed by Norman Batuma, a well-known businessman in Uganda.

About XSML

Although international investors show an increasing interest in emerging markets, the demand for finance from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) remains largely untapped.

XSML, eXtra Small Medium Large, founded in 2008, bridges this gap by investing in small businesses to help them grow into medium and large enterprises.  XSML manages two funds with a focus on frontier markets in Central and East Africa: the Central Africa SME Fund and the African Rivers Fund. Our local teams of 14 investment and operating professionals have experience in emerging and frontier markets in private equity, corporate and development banking and corporate restructuring with offices in Kinshasa (DRC) and Kampala (Uganda).   More information can be found on our website

For further information please contact:

T: +31 (0) 85 273 6029