TORONTO, ONTARIO – May 14, 2019: Feronia Inc. (“Feronia” or the “Company”) (TSX-V: FRN) today announced a number of management changes.
Xavier de Carniere has decided to resign as the Company's Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) and as a director of the Company’s applicable subsidiaries. Mr. de Carniere will continue in his role of CEO until June 30, 2019 but will remain with the Company as a strategic advisor until December 31, 2019.
Frank Braeken, Chairman of Feronia commented:"Over the past four and a half years the Company has made magnificent progress under Xavier’s leadership. Crude palm oil production has more than tripled, the Company is firmly on the road to financial sustainability, our employees, operations and wider communities are benefitting from the substantial investment programme he has overseen and the future of the Company now looks secure.
“On behalf of the Company, its staff and its shareholders, I would like to thank Xavier for his tireless dedication, leadership and hard work. He will be sorely missed but leaves behind him a positive legacy which will survive long into the future.”
Xavier de Carniere commented:"Leaving the Company has not been an easy decision, but I feel that the time is right for me to step aside, take some rest and let those with new energy and ideas drive Feronia to the next level.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to have led Feronia through this exciting, transformative, stage in its journey, to have worked with such a devoted and hard-working team and to have been part of something so important and positive in the DRC. I hope that our progress will inspire more people to invest in the agriculture in DRC, small and large scale, for the good of the country and its people, and eventually to contribute to a more balanced World.
“I wish everyone involved in this emotionally rich adventure the very best of luck for the future.”
Following Mr. de Carniere’s departure, Mr. Frank Braeken, currently Non-Executive Chairman, will become Executive Chairman and Mr. Yanick Vernet will become Chief Operating Officer of Feronia Inc.
Mr. Vernet joined Feronia in July 2018 as Managing Director of Feronia’s palm oil subsidiary, Plantations et Huileries du Congo (“PHC”). He has lived and worked in Africa for almost four decades and has extensive experience in African agriculture and related industries. Before joining Feronia, Mr. Vernet was Managing Director at Siat Gabon where he was responsible for managing a number of sites including industrial facilities, cattle ranches and rubber plantations and prior to this, he spent almost a decade as a Managing Director for Socfin including three years in Cameroon where he had overall responsibility for several plantations and industrial sites which produced 120,000 tonnes of CPO and 6,000 tonnes of rubber per annum.
The Company is also pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Gilles Marit as Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”). Mr. Marit joins the Company on June 1, 2019 and will replace Mr. David Steel who leaves the Company on June 30, 2019.
Prior to joining Feronia, Mr. Marit spent almost a decade working in Central and South America for the Greenyard Group, one of the largest sourcing networks for fruit and vegetables in the world. This included six and a half years as Finance Director for Latin America and, most recently, as Managing Director for Costa Rica where he had full responsibility for the business which consisted of three companies employing more than 800 people. As well as Central and South America, Mr. Marit has previously lived and worked in a number of African counties, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Frank Braeken, Chairman of Feronia commented:"I would like to welcome Gilles as the Company’s new CFO. He has an exceptional track record and a raft of experience which I believe will be hugely beneficial to the Company as we begin on the next stage of this exciting journey.
“I’d also like to welcome Yanick to the role of Chief Operating Officer. Since he joined the Company almost a year ago, he has shown incredible understanding of the opportunities ahead of us and, I believe, has the determination and ability to help us deliver on our objectives.”
The appointments of both Mr. Marit and Mr. Vernet are subject to the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange.
For further information please contact:
Paul Dulieu Director of Communications and Corporate Development, Feronia Inc. 44 (0)7554 521421 email@example.com
About Feronia Inc.
Feronia is an agribusiness operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
At the heart of Feronia lies a long established palm oil business, Plantations et Huileries du Congo (PHC), which has three remotely located plantations; Lokutu, Yaligimba and Boteka.
When Feronia acquired its palm oil business from Unilever in 2009, it had suffered from years of underinvestment and considerable disruption caused by conflict in the DRC. Our initial focus has been on rebuilding the business and resuming production to secure its future and the livelihoods of the thousands of people we directly employ.
Feronia’s plantations produce crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel oil (PKO). CPO is part of the staple and traditional diet of the Congolese and, with our products sold locally in the DRC, we are well placed to help decrease reliance on imports and increase food security and quality.
Feronia prides itself on being the guardian of our 107 year-old palm oil business and its employees, communities, and environment. We have a long term commitment to improve the living and working environment of our employees and their communities and are committed to sustainable agriculture, environmental protection and community inclusion. Feronia has in place an Environmental and Social Action Plan which is focused on implementing environmental and social best practice and improving social infrastructure.
Feronia is implementing IFC/World Bank standards for environmental and social sustainability. Our oil palm replanting programme is brownfield in nature – replacing old palms with new – and it has no reliance on deforestation.
Feronia’s management team has extensive experience in managing both plantations and farming operations in emerging markets.
For more information please see www.feronia.com
Except for statements of historical fact contained herein, the information in this press release constitutes “forward-looking information” within the meaning of Canadian securities law. Such forward-looking information may be identified by words such as “anticipates”, “plans”, “proposes”, “estimates”, “intends”, “expects”, “believes”, “may” and “will”. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate; actual results and future events could differ materially from such statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, among others: risks related to foreign operations (including various political, economic and other risks and uncertainties), the interpretation and implementation of the “Loi Portant Principes Fondamentaux Relatifs A L’Agriculture”, termination or non-renewal of concession rights or expropriation of property rights, political instability and bureaucracy, limited operating history, lack of profitability, lack of infrastructure in the DRC, high inflation rates, limited availability of debt financing in the DRC, fluctuations in currency exchange rates, competition from other businesses, reliance on various factors (including local labour, importation of machinery and other key items and business relationships), the Company’s reliance on two major customers, lower productivity at the Company’s plantations, risks related to the agricultural industry (including adverse weather conditions, shifting weather patterns, and crop failure due to infestations), a shift in commodity trends and demands, vulnerability to fluctuations in the world market, the lack of availability of qualified management personnel and stock market volatility. Details of the risk factors relating to Feronia and its business are discussed under the heading “Risks and Uncertainties” in Feronia’s Management’s Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2018, a copy of which is available on the Company’s SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com. Most of these factors are outside the control of the Company. Investors are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking information. Except as otherwise required by applicable securities statutes or regulation, the Company expressly disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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