22 Oct SEAF Caribbean SME Growth Fund Invests in Camex Restaurants, Guyana’s Largest Restaurant Operator
Kingston, Jamaica – October 21st, 2020 – The SEAF Caribbean SME Growth Fund has acquired a majority ownership interest in Camex Restaurants Inc. in Guyana. The investment will enable the fast-food restaurant franchisee to accelerate its growth and expansion plans in Guyana and the region.
Founded in 2006, Camex is Guyana’s largest restaurant operator, with five brands and 28 franchise locations distributed throughout the country: Church’s Chicken, Dairy Queen, Pollo Tropical, Mario’s Pizza, and Quiznos. Approximately 80% of its workforce are women, including top management such as the COO. The Company has also been actively developing local supply chains by sourcing inputs locally. Camex is recognized as a good corporate citizen and has developed a reputation for delivering high-quality service and popular products.
The investment in Camex is the first for SEAF’s Caribbean SME Fund, which was launched in October 2019. SEAF’s investment in Camex Restaurants Inc. was completed during the Covid-19 pandemic, which created travel and other logistical constraints. A collaborative and transparent due diligence and transaction process was made possible through the work of the SEAF Caribbean Management team as well as Camex Founder and Executive Director, Terrence Campbell, and the rest of Camex’s talented senior management team, who demonstrated their dedication to the company and support for SEAF by completing the transaction under these difficult conditions.
Mr. Campbell expressed his delight at the conclusion of the process, stating that “from the initial discussion to financial close, SEAF operated with commendable professional competence and good faith that made me comfortable that the company I founded and built and, most importantly, the employees, are in safe hands.” Mr. Campbell will remain very actively involved in the business as Executive Director. Lisa Insanally will assume the role of Chief Operating Officer. Ms. Insanally was recently recognized at the Church’s Chicken Annual Global Conference, held virtually this year, with a STAR (Service, Teamwork, Attitude, Respect) recognition award. According to Ms. Insanally, “2020 has been a year full of unprecedented challenges.”
Management has overseen Camex’s adaptation to curfew restrictions and COVID safety protocols, including switching sales to curbside pickup and drive-throughs. Ms. Insanally went on to say, “It is heartening to know that even in these trying times, there are investors who continue to see the potential for growth in Guyana. Our team at Camex Restaurants Inc. warmly welcomes SEAF to Guyana and to our Camex family. We stand together in full support of our shared vision for the expansion of our company, which will certainly help to develop the community and continue to provide employment opportunities throughout Guyana and beyond.”
Leo Williams, the Fund’s Managing Director noted, “As this is our inaugural investment for the Fund, it represents the confidence that we have in both the growth prospects of Guyana and the team at Camex, led by Mr. Campbell and Ms. Insanally. Our collective experience in business and within the region will allow us to do great things locally and abroad. We have built an exciting and robust pipeline of opportunities in Guyana and in the Caricom region and look forward to closing other investments already in the due diligence phase.”
Kurt Kisto, SEAF Managing Director for the Region, is enthusiastic about the opportunity Camex presents. “I have always been an advocate of the need for private equity capital as an essential financial instrument to help businesses grow and expand. Private equity brings patient capital, as well as expertise, to drive growth, especially in fast-growing economies such as Guyana. It is also critically important for the rest of the Caricom region, as part of a necessary tool kit of financial products required to assist businesses to prosper despite the downturn and re-establishing growth post-COVID-19.”
About SEAF Caribbean SME Growth Fund
The SEAF Caribbean SME Growth Fund is a private equity fund that invests growth capital in fast-growing small and medium-sized enterprises throughout all English-speaking Caricom countries. While sector agnostic, the Fund seeks opportunities in promising sectors such as manufacturing, tourism, agribusiness, healthcare, training and education, ICT and financial inclusion, renewable and clean energy services, retail distribution, and transport and logistics. Similar to all SEAF funds, the Fund aims to generate both attractive financial returns and strong social impact by providing equity and active business partnership to companies that have traditionally lacked access to institutional risk capital.
SEAF is a global impact fund management company headquartered in Washington, DC, that invests in small and medium-sized enterprises in emerging and frontier markets. SEAF seeks financial returns as well as impact on economic and social development and provides technical assistance to improve the performance of the enterprises. SEAF, with committed capital of $1.2 billion, has more than 30 years of experience with 40 funds in over 30 countries. SEAF also supports 11 Centers for Entrepreneurship and Development (CEED) around the world (www.ceed-global.org), providing training, mentoring, professional networks, and global access to entrepreneur-run businesses. For more information, visit www.seaf.com.
Download the press release here.