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History

  • SIFCA: A passion for Human

    Created from the merger of two companies - Société Immobilière et Financière de la Côte Africaine (the Real Estate and Financial Company of the African Coast) and Société Immobilière de l'Indénié (Indénié Real estate company) - SIFCA is the materialization of the vision of men who believed in Côte d'Ivoire and its economic growth potential.

    The story begins in the wake of a dynamics driven by Pierre BILLON. Together with him, several investors including Henri TARDIVAT and Aimé BAROU designed and implemented an ambitious project which consisted in investing in Côte d'Ivoire and developing its wealth. They decided to get involved in two emblematic sectors of a nascent country: real estate and agriculture. Pierre BAUDOUIN was then recruited to implement the project.

    Taking into account the importance of agriculture in the economic development of the country, they developed the trade of coffee and cocoa, the two jewels of the Ivorian agriculture.

  • The Founding Years

    The 1970’s shows the first signs of the company's development. The shareholders then created the first subsidiary of SIFCA, Unicafé, a coffee hulling company, through seven factories in various production regions in Côte d'Ivoire (Man, Aboisso, Daoukro, Gagnoa, Anyama, Divo and Daloa). These plants operated for several years, before turning into coffee and cocoa groups purchasing organizations, following a change in strategy linked to the Ivorian regulatione.

    The arrival of Yves LAMBELIN, hired by Pierre BAUDOUIN in 1978, is a significant milestone in the development of the company. On the one hand with the expansion of the core business of ,SIFCA still focused on coffee and cocoa, and on the other hand, with the strengthening of aan integrated strategy all levels of production, particularly in the cocoa sector. To support this growth, several plants were acquired and developed from 1986 until the early 1990’s. In Côte d'Ivoire, the Group decided to buy Procasi, which later became Unicao. In Spain, it was Indcresa, for cocoa powder. Then, in France, with Nord Cacao, based in Dunkerque, for the cocoa butter used by chocolatiers. At the same time, the partnership with the company Grace Cocoa, based in the Netherlands, boosted the processing business. At the same time, SIFCA is improving its carrying capacity by moving closer to the production areas, particularly in the South West region of Côte d'Ivoire. Unico, another subsidiary of SIFCA, is thus created to load the goods from the port of San Pedro.Read more

    The business is constantly developing. SIFCA became the first African, and even world’s, coffee-cocoa exporter. From 10,000 tons at the beginning, the company exported more than 300,000 tons in 1999-2000. This beautiful page in its history, punctuated by constant challenges, ended with the liberalization of the coffee / cocoa sector in 1999. Faced with global giants like ADM Cocoa, Barry Calbaut and Cargill, SIFCA withdrew from the sector despite the acquisition of JAG. It has decided to refocus on sectors with a future.

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  • A new growth strategy

    Time for diversification has come. Initiated in the early 1980’s, it began with the withdrawal of the State from the assets of Soderiz. SIFCA then decided to invest in the rice sector. The company installed rice hulling plants in Gagnoa, Daloa and Man through its subsidiary Uniriz, which developed the business and promoted local rice with the brands Rizivoire and Riviera. Since 1988 Uniriz was on standby for nearly a decade before resuming business in 1996. The Uncle Jo brand, rice imported from the USA, was launched on the market until 2000. This diversification policy, initiated in 1995, is going to develope on a large scale.
    In addition to the coffee-cocoa, SIFCA asserted its ambitions in agri-business sector. Firstly, in the oilseed sector, with the takeover of Cosmivoire (1995). Then Palmci, in 1997, following the privatization of Palmindustrie. The sugar sector was also explored in partnership with Harel Frères for the acquisition of Sucrivoire, following the privatization of Sodesucre in 1996. Rubber sector also had a considerable potential for growth, and this justified the takeover of SIPH in 1999, a holding company covering Côte d'Ivoire (SAPH) and Ghana (GREL).

  • A success declined in three sectors

    Three booming sectors are thus beginning to emerge, with a growing presence in Africa. After Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, the business of these three areas was developed in Nigeria (RENL), Liberia (CRC, MOPP) and Senegal (Sendiso). The various restructuring plans and partnerships with leading companies in the global agro-industry (Michelin in 2002, Harel Frères in 1997, and then Olam and Wilmar in 2008) helped SIFCA to strengthen the production capacity of factories and plantations. So the Group’s companies became more competitive. An, example with the inauguration of Africa’s largest refinery of palm oil in Abidjan, following the creation of Sania in 2008, created from the partnership between Nauvu (joint venture between Olam and Wilmar) and SIFCA.

    Driven by this logic of development, SIFCA continue creating and acquiring shares in several service companies in order to facilitate the deployment of its activities. The objective is also to ensure its independence in sectors such as insurance (Sifcom Assur in 1991), transit (former SIT), packaging (Filivoire in 1995), travel and tourism (Alize Voyages in 1997).

  • Creation of the SIFCA Foundation and Biokala

    Although engaged in actions with a strong social impact for more than 50 years, the SIFCA Group has decided to go even further in its commitments by creating its own Foundation December 13th, 2014, in the heart of the Banco National Park. Recognized as a non-profit organization, the SIFCA Foundation contributes to curbing the rural exodus by taking action in the fields of Education, Environment, Sport & Health.


    2014 has also been a banner year for BIOKALA, a Group subsidiary since 2011 specializing in the production of electrical energy from biomass. This year, the company is associated with a major partner : EDF. An innovative and green project for Côte d'Ivoire.

  • Today: a vision for the future, a live memory

    The history of SIFCA is rooted in its heritage, but it is part of a future that calls on the expertise it has created and developed over time. The Group's memory is strengthened by the trace of its historic shareholders. Men who believed in the significant role of the private sector. Men who bet on the significant potential of agribusiness. Men who understood that human beings are at the heart of any development. The same goes for a major challenge of the new century: protecting the environment, with the support of a sustainable development program initiated since 2007.

    Today, SIFCA is the first private company in Côte d'Ivoire. It has eleven subsidiaries in six countries. It employs more than 33,000 men and women. And the story goes on…

Some key dates

Pierre BILLON Sr, sets up SIFCA in Abidjan.
Creation of COMAFRIQUE specialized in the import and sale of vehicles.
SIFCA and COMAFRIQUE join forces to create SIFCOM.
 
SIFCA leaves the coffee-cocoa sector to refocus on oilseeds, natural rubber and cane sugar.
A strategic alliance with MICHELIN in the rubber sector is set.
Launch of the Sustainable Development Program.
 
Within the oilseed sector, WILMAR and OLAM purchase SIFCA shares through the NAUVU joint venture.
Opening of Sania’s new refinery of palm oil in Abidjan. It is to date the largest in Africa.
Creation of the SIFCA Foundation to contribute to reducing rural exodus. The Group also launches its new subsidiary Biokala for the production of green energy.