Oikocredit exits its investment in Fairtrade chocolate company Divine Chocolate
Social impact investor Oikocredit has supported Divine since 2006 as it expanded its footprint from the United Kingdom to the USA
June 17, 2020, Amersfoort, the Netherlands – Dutch headquartered social impact investor Oikocredit has exited its investment in Fairtrade chocolate company, Divine Chocolate Limited. The Divine brand and its unique business model, centred around farmers, will continue to deliver products that empower both producers and consumers after this exit.
Oikocredit has been invested in Divine since 2006, supporting its growth in the UK and expansion into the USA. Divine is now a household name in its core markets and has helped catalyse the industry from a time when there were few Fairtrade options to the present day where there are multiple choices. The company has remained distinct from the competition by having farmer ownership and board representation as part of its DNA.
Oikocredit sold its investment in Divine to a subsidiary of Ludwig Weinrich GmbH & Co. KG (Weinrich). The Germany-based company has manufactured Divine’s chocolate since it was established back in 1998 and has now acquired the majority of the shares in Divine. Weinrich was one of the first German Fairtrade chocolate makers in the 1990s and it has used 100% certified sustainable cocoa since 2014. Kuapa Kokoo, the farmers’ co-operative in Ghana that was a founding shareholder in Divine, will continue to own 20% of the shares and have board representation.
This agreement helps Divine to continue its commitment to Fairtrade and a sustainable and traceable supply chain. Divine will remain committed to generating positive and sustainable impact for farmers.
Divine generated GBP 9 million of annual revenue in 2005/06 when Oikocredit first invested compared to over GBP 15 million generated in 2018/19. The company has also paid almost USD 3 million of Fairtrade premiums to farmers and farmer-led organisations since Oikocredit first invested. Another element of social impact has been Divine itself investing in farmer-led programmes across Africa over time with a focus on empowering women cocoa farmers.
In their statement, Divine acknowledged and thanked the investors, including Oikocredit, who had the imagination and courage to make their ambitious plans a reality. With the invested capital, Divine succeeded to extend its farmer-centric business model into the USA.
Som Toohey, Equity Officer at Oikocredit, said: “We’re pleased to have supported Divine, one of our first equity partners, to expand its market reach in the UK and into the USA. We are proud that Divine has helped to transform the industry with its distinct approach to foster a fairer supply chain, creating positive social impact in the chocolate industry. As Divine, Weinrich and Kuapa Kokoo embark on the next chapter of the company’s journey together, we wish them the very best.”
Social impact investor and worldwide cooperative Oikocredit has over 40 years’ experience funding organisations active in financial inclusion, agriculture and renewable energy.
Oikocredit’s loans, equity investments and capacity building aim to enable people on low incomes in Africa, Asia and Latin America to sustainably improve their living standards.
Oikocredit finances over 680 partners, with total outstanding capital of over € 1 billion (at 31 March 2020). For more information: https://www.oikocredit.coop/en/.
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