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Singapore firm finances rice miller, exporter Amru

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Amru Rice CEO Song Saran (right) and EMIA CEO Joshua Morris shake hands at the signing ceremony on March 10. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Singapore firm finances rice miller, exporter Amru

Rice miller and exporter Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd has received an undisclosed amount of financing from Singapore-based private equity fund manager Emerging Markets Investment Advisers (EMIA) through its new ASEAN Frontier Markets Fund (AFMF) to bolster the prominent local firm’s exports and improve market access for the Kingdom’s farmers.

Founded in 2011, Amru is engaged in contract farming and aims to ensure a sustainable and inclusive supply chain through capacity development programmes, “fair” incentive systems, among other measures.

Mao Savin, EMIA Cambodia head and key coordinator for the Amru deal, disclosed that the fund manager sees the local firm as a potential leader in the Southeast Asian organic rice production and export industries, given its “resilient growth” over the past few years and “sustainable” business model.

“With the mission to support companies who share AFMF’s social and economic development philosophy, EMIA believes this partnership will support Amru in further growing and scaling the businesses to increase Cambodia’s share in the global rice markets, especially in the high-value organic rice market.

“I look forward to working closely with Amru to make a greater positive impact on the rice sector, key stakeholders, and the communities Amru serves,” he said.

EMIA CEO Joshua Morris stated that his institution entered into the partnership to reaffirm its commitment to supporting transparency, innovation and sustainability in Southeast Asian businesses. He expressed hope that the deal would fit in with EMIA’s mission to expand its network of value-added firms that usher in socio-economic and environmental advancements in local markets.

“We are very excited to have Amru mark the first investment for our new fund, AFMF. The business’ fast-growing profile, distinguished role in the country’s economic development, and unprecedented approach to social empowerment and environmental protection epitomise the characteristics of companies we are keen to support,” he said.

Amru founder and CEO Song Saran said that AFMF’s investment is seen as key to accelerating the local firm’s business growth, the fulfilment of its ESG (environmental, social and governance) and climate-related objectives, and leaving a more positive impact on major stakeholders.

“Amru is honoured to welcome EMIA on board. EMIA’s long-standing regional presence and broad network will prove invaluable to us as our company graduates to the next stage of our mission fulfilment journey. We are also impressed by EMIA’s commitment to investees’ development journey in both commercial and ESG aspects,” he said.

A new report from the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body, shows that in the January-February period, Cambodia formally exported “nearly 100,000 tonnes” of milled rice “worth $72.67 million” to “38 markets” through “40 exporters”.

The grains went to mainland China and Hong Kong (49,056 tonnes; $33.26 million), 21 “European countries” (38,456 tonnes; $27.26 million), Malaysia and Singapore in ASEAN (4,409 tonnes; $3.02 million), and Russia, Turkey, Australia, the US, the Middle East, and other markets (5,546 tonnes; $8.14 million), the English-language version of the report indicated.

However, the English and Khmer versions – as well as provided graphs – contain conflicting figures that do not add up to the totals.

The Khmer version and graph put the value of exports to mainland China and Hong Kong at $33.93 million, while the graph also put the ASEAN sum at $3.01 million and totals for “other markets” at 5,232 tonnes and $8.13 million. Given that the total was said to be $72.67 million in both versions, this leaves no fewer than $295,000 unaccounted for.

Broken down by variety, premium aromatic “Malys Angkor” rice represented the lion’s share at 49,381 tonnes, followed by Sen Kra’op (SKO) fragrant (36,495 tonnes), white (6,461 tonnes), parboiled (2,890 tonnes) and organic (2,284 tonnes). Accounting for rounding, these add up to no less than 39 tonnes more than the total provided for exports to the different markets.

Additionally, the Kingdom formally exported 871,319 tonnes of paddy rice worth $217.82 million, exclusively to at least one “neighbouring country”, the report indicated without elaborating, although historically this has meant that the full amount went to Vietnam.


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