Duet Private Equity Ltd said Aug 1 that it acquired a majority stake in AJEAST Nigeria Ltd. Duet PE said its investment was more than $50 million. AJEAST is the Sub-Saharan Africa subsidiary of AJE Group, a multinational beverage company.
London, United Kingdom, 1 August 2018: Duet Private Equity Limited (“DPEL”), a principal investor in emerging- and frontier markets, announced today that it has acquired a majority stake in AJEAST Nigeria Limited (“AJEAST” or the “Company”), the Sub-Saharan Africa subsidiary of AJE Group, one of the largest global multinational beverage companies. DPEL’s total investment in the transaction is in excess of USD 50mm, a significant share of which is allocated as growth capital.
AJE Group formally launched the Company in October 2015 with a brand new, state of the art factory near Lagos, Nigeria. With brands such as BIG Cola, BIG Orange and BIG Lemon, it has gained significant market share in the carbonated beverage segment through time-tested marketing strategies and a strong value proposition.
The Company is 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 country’s expansive youth base. The Company will be distributing brands from AJE Group in other parts of Africa as well. Proceeds of the investment will be used to accelerate in select international territories, facilitate the launch of new products and brands, and further increase volumes.
Commenting on the transaction, Henry Gabay, CIO at Duet Private Equity Limited and Co-Founder at Duet Group, 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. The acquisition of AJEAST follows our previous investments in the beverage sector across Africa, and we are excited to be able to leverage our experience in partnership with a prominent multinational like AJE Group.”
Manish Rungta, Managing Director at Duet Private Equity Limited, said: “We are delighted to work together with AJE Group in continuing 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. Since entering the WestAfrican market in 2015, institutional backing of AJE Group has provided the company with strong fundamentals upon which our investment and local knowledge can further drive growth.”
Angel Añaños, Chairman of AJE Group, commented: “AJE’s history dates to 1988, and through our innovative approach and passion we became a leading player in Latin-American and Asian markets. As AJE intends to accelerate into the next phase of growth in Africa, we were seeking a partner that has the local platform and sector expertise to support our ambitions. With Duet, we have found a partner that shares our commitment to widen our product reach of affordable value beverages to the African consumer. We also believe that Duet is the ideal partner to continue the growth of our brands in such a crucial market. 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.”
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP and Aluko & Oyebode acted as legal advisors to DPEL on the transaction.