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Phatisa and ES-KO invest in leading African facilities management group - International Facilities Services (IFS)

  • Strategic Growth Partnership: Phatisa and ES-KO acquire 100% of IFS, partnering with management to expand operations across Africa and enhance its position as a leading facilities management group.

  • Commitment to Sustainability: Investment aligns with several United Nations SDGs, highlighting a strong focus on local economic development, food security, and environmental impact reduction. IFS prioritises local procurement and employment, significantly contributing to economic development in remote areas.

A consortium comprising Phatisa, ES-KO, and management (the “Consortium”), has acquired 100% of International Facilities Services (IFS) from Development Partners International (DPI) for an undisclosed sum.


Established in 2000, IFS is a leading African integrated facilities management business, supporting blue-chip customers operating in remote sites. Having started its activities in South Africa, IFS has progressively expanded its footprint, servicing more than forty remote sites across six African countries including Mozambique, DRC and Zambia.


IFS employs circa 4,000 people and provides comprehensive facility management solutions including catering, cleaning, laundry, pest control, site management and housekeeping services. The Group operates according to the highest quality standards providing more than 40 million meals, cleaning over 130 million sqm of floors, and washing more than 20 million garments annually.


The Consortium will harness their complementary operational expertise, financial prowess, and impact credentials to partner with management in realising IFS’s vision of becoming Africa’s premier facilities management group.


A Strategic Partnership with Impact


Phatisa, through its Phatisa Food Fund 2 (PFF 2), and ES-KO, a global provider of integrated solutions in challenging environments, are committed to fostering sustainable growth. This investment aligns particularly with Phatisa’s impact goals, which include enhancing food security in Africa and supporting smallholder farmers and microentrepreneurs. While IFS – through its core activities – supports local communities by prioritising local employment and social investment.  By way of example, over 95% of the produce used by IFS is sourced locally in each country of operation.


Rinolan Moodley, Senior Partner at Phatisa, commented:


“We are excited to partner with IFS and ES-KO to further our mission of driving sustainable growth and creating a meaningful impact across the African continent. This investment epitomises our commitment to combining financial and operational performance with positive social and environmental outcomes.”


Franco Zanotti, President of ES-KO, stated:


“Our partnership with IFS and Phatisa reflects our philosophy in providing exceptional services to customers while fostering local economic development and sustainability. While IFS will remain operationally autonomous – we see exciting opportunities to develop synergies by sharing best practices and know-how. 


Henlo Webber, CEO of IFS, added:


“This partnership marks a significant milestone for IFS. We are enthusiastic about the opportunities this collaboration brings in terms of growth and enhancing our impact on the communities we serve – whilst continuing to effectively serve our customers. We believe in a culture of creating a home for our employees and a home experience to our customers, which we feel is aligned to the same values of Phatisa and ES-KO. With the support of our new shareholders, we are poised to achieve our vision of becoming the leading facilities management group in Africa.”


Commitment to Sustainability and SDGs


Vitally, this investment targets several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), underscoring the Consortium’s commitment to sustainability and community development:


  • SDG 1: No Poverty – IFS supports the development of various small businesses, aiming to turn them into suppliers. It is envisaged that Phatisa’s technical assistance facility will help expand local supplier projects such as poultry farming, abattoirs, and vegetable growing, with potential localisation projects at other sites.

  • SDG 2: Zero Hunger – IFS provides over 40 million meals annually – not only enhancing food security in remote areas but also improving family incomes for small-scale suppliers.

  • SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth – IFS employs circa 4,000 staff, projected to grow in the near and medium term, underpinned by HR best practices including training, succession planning, and talent development processes.

  • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production – IFS aims to reduce single-use plastics and is being supported to develop realistic reduction targets. The Company already has recycling and waste management policies in place which shall be continued.

  • SDG 13: Climate Action – IFS is assessing its greenhouse gas emissions and is developing a net-zero business plan by 2050 – underscoring the Company and shareholders’ commitment to reducing its environmental impact.


IFS’s operations are deeply integrated with local communities. This new investment by like-minded shareholders strengthens the Company’s ability to continue focusing on local procurement and employment, improving food security and providing additional income sources for local farmers, whilst significantly contributing to economic development in remote areas.


The transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals.


Debt financing was provided by Standard Bank and lead advisors to Phatisa and ES-KO included DLA Piper (legal), EY (financial and tax) and IBIS (ESG).


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