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Hela Apparel gets Sh700m loan to expand Africa operations

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Kenya’s diaspora remittances have continued to grow with projections indicating a new record high for 2023. FILE PHOTO | POOL

Sri Lankan apparel manufacturing firm Hela Apparel Holdings has secured a Sh700 million ($5 million) loan from German state-owned investment and development bank KfW and India-based non-banking financial firm Aavishkaar Group to fund expansion in Kenya, Egypt and Ethiopia.

Hela has twelve manufacturing plants, seven in Sri Lanka, two each in Kenya and Ethiopia, and one in Egypt, with a workforce of 20,000 staffers across the globe.

The firm provides sustainability-focused apparel supply chain solutions to some of the world’s renowned brands. It produces intimate and activewear and children's clothing.

“This investment by ESG [Environmental and Social Governance] First Fund will help us to continue this fruitful journey, particularly by supporting the expansion of our Egyptian manufacturing facility to its full scale,” said Hela chairman Albert Rasiah.

“Hela was one the first major multinational apparel manufacturers to enter the African region in 2016, starting with just 250 employees in Kenya. We have since rapidly expanded our footprint and today employ approximately 10,000 people on the continent.”

The ESG First Fund is a Sh35 billion ($250 million) reserve venture capital fund managed jointly by KfW and Aavishkaar with a focus to invest in Africa and Asia.

The Hela facility is the second investment after pumping Sh273.2 million ($1.95 million) into Indian horticultural firm INI Farms in April.

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