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Simeus Foods gets multimillion-dollar investment: Wal-Mart private equity fund seeks to support minority-owned businesses.

SIMEUS FOODS INTERNATIONAL INC. RECENTLY RECEIVED A $5 MILLION cash investment from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., making the minority-owned food manufacturer the first beneficiary of a private small business equity fund established by the national retailer. Wal-Mart was named one of BE'S Best Companies for Diversity in July.

Dumas Simeus, the chairman of the board, says the injection of cash will allow Mansfield, Texas-based Simeus Foods (No. 33 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $127 million in sales) to expand some of its existing products. Specifically, it will increase its pre-cooked beef and pork entrees and its kettle products, including soups and sauces.

Simeus expects Wal-Mart to account for a substantial portion of the company's future business and says this new relationship will present lucrative opportunities. "The private equity investment is a manifestation of Wal-Mart's confidence in Simeus Foods' ability to grow the company and become a large supplier to Wal-Mart in the future," says Simeus.

Wal-Mart established the private equity hind in October to invest in women- and minority-owned businesses. The retail giant is not taking any ownership in the funded companies. "Through this equity fired we are able to actively invest and support businesses and help promote supplier diversity and foster the entrepreneurial spirit," says Linda Blakley, media representative at Wal-Mart corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Aldus Equity in Dallas will manage the equity fund, which has more than $25 million earmarked for equity investment payments to various businesses over the next five years.
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Author:Townes, Glenn
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2006
Words:247
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