Duet Private Equity Limited (DPEL), a principal investor in emerging and frontier markets, has announced the acquisition of a majority stake in AJEAST Nigeria Limited.
DPEL, last week said it is investing in excess of $50million into the transaction, a significant share of which is allocated as growth capital. Proceeds of the investment will be used to accelerate in select international territories, facilitate the launch of new products and brands, and increase AJEAST’s production capacity and volume.
AJEAST is the sub-Saharan Africa subsidiary of AJE Group, a leading multinational non-alcoholic beverage manufacturer, makers of Big Cola, Big Orange, and a host of others.With the new investment, AJEAST will further intensify its focus on targeting a young demography of growing socio-economic segments, capturing both the significant advance of middle-income households, as well as the demographic dividend of the region’s expansive youth base.
The transaction marks DPEL’s 6th investment in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector in sub-Sahara Africa, and its 1st in Nigeria, and will support AJEAST in further consolidating market share, as well as catalysing further expansion across the continent.CIO DPEL and Co-Founder at Duet Group, Henry Gabay, said: “At Duet we strongly believe in the African consumer growth story. As the number of middle-income households in Nigeria and select West-African markets keeps expanding, and more consumers are entering the formal economy through urbanisation, the demand for products such as BIG Cola will grow exponentially.”He added that the acquisition of AJEAST is a follow-up to previous investments in the beverage sector across Africa, saying: “We are excited to be able to leverage our experience in partnership with a prominent multinational like AJE Group.”
Managing Director, DPEL, Manish Rungta, said: “We are delighted to work together with AJE Group to continue the footprint expansion of brands like BIG Cola in African markets. With its value proposition, AJEAST is uniquely positioned to capture market share in the rapidly expanding segment of affordable, high quality consumer goods.”
Applauding the new partnership, Chairman, AJE Group, Angel Añaños, noted that “AJE’s history dates to 1988, and through our innovative approach and passion we became a leading player in Latin-America and Asia markets.”With plans to accelerate into the next phase of growth in Africa, Ananos said the company sought a partner that has the local platform and sector expertise to support AJE ambitions. “We are confident that our longstanding experience will help replicate the successes we have had in our markets, and look forward to a fruitful partnership with Duet,” he added.
Also commenting, Country Managing Director, AJEAST, Theo Williams, said: “I am extremely excited about this partnership with a like-minded ally such as Duet; we believe we can steer this venture into new heights. We are committed to offering the highest quality products that are a viable alternative at an affordable price. Together, we will grow to our full potential, and take up our rightful position as a valued contributor to the beverage industry on the African continent.”
The Company was officially launched in Nigeria, in September 2015, with a brand new state-of–the-art factory near Lagos, and has gained significant market share in the carbonated beverage segment.