BrandArena: Duet invests $50million in AJEAST Nigeria

Thursday 9 August 2018

Duet invests $50million in AJEAST Nigeria

Duet Private Equity Limited, a principal investor in emerging and frontier markets, have announced the acquisition of a majority stake in AJEAST Nigeria Limited. DPEL is investing in excess of  $50million into the transaction, a significant share of which is allocated as growth capital. 

AJEAST is the Sub-Saharan Africa subsidiary of AJE Group, globally one of the largest multinational non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers. The Company was officially launched in Nigeria in September 2015, with a brand new state-of–the-art factory near Lagos.

With brands such as BIG COLA, BIG ORANGE, BIG LIME and BIG VOLT, it gained significant market share in the carbonated beverage segment through time-tested marketing strategies and a strong value proposition. AJEAST’s entrance into the Nigerian soft-drink sector democratized the industry by offering the consumer more value for less, changing the perception consumers had of carbonated soft drinks from a discretionary good to an affordable option that can be enjoyed by anyone, at any time.

On the Corporate level, AJEAST engaged in projects and events designed to ignite the Spirit of Enterprise, Innovation, Creativity, Service, Excellence and designed to stimulate economic growth in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

Proceeds of the investment will be used to accelerate in select international territories, facilitate the launch of new products and brands, and increase our production capacity and volume. With this 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. This transaction marks DPEL’s 6th investment in the FMCG sector in Sub Sahara Africa, and its 1st in Nigeria. Leveraging on DPEL’s wide experience in the beverage sector in African growth markets, the investment will support AJEAST in further consolidating market share, as well as catalyzing further expansion across the continent.

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 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. Since entering the West-African market in 2015, the institutional backing of AJE Group has provided the company with strong fundamentals upon which our investment and local knowledge can further drive growth.”

Applauding the new partnership, Angel Añaños, Chairman of AJE Group, commented that “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.”

“I am extremely excited about this partnership”, said Theo Williams, Country Managing Director, at AJEAST, “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.

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