Duet Private Equity (DPEL), a private equity firm, has acquire a significant stake in Ajeast Nigeria, the Sub-Saharan Africa subsidiary of multinational beverage company, AJE Group.
DPEL invested over $50 million in the acquisition; a significant share will be allocated as growth capital. The investment will be used to expand Ajeast’s presence in Nigeria.
Speaking on the acquisition, AJE Group chairman, Angel Añaños said,
“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 widening our product reach of affordable value beverages to the African consumer.”
DPEL is a private equity and venture capital firm, specialising in investments in early stage, emerging growth, turnaround, growth capital, buyout, real estate and infrastructure.
AJE Group formally launched the Ajeast Nigeria, in October 2015 by opening a factory near Lagos, Nigeria.
How DPEL’s acquisition will affect the soft drink market
A major player in the soft drink market, the Nigeria Bottling Company (NBC), makers of the Coca-Cola drink is faced with stiff competition from SevenUp Bottling company, makers of Pepsi, Mirinda and Seven Up soft drinks and also from other new entrants.
The introduction of BIG Cola brand into the Nigerian market, has further increased the race for market share and profitability. This has forced competing brands to either increase the size of their products or dropped the price.
In recent times, major competitor Seven-up Bottling Company has been struggling to boost revenue and sales caused by a drop in consumers purchasing power and harsh business environment.
The continued poor performance of SevenUp led to its acquisition by Affelka, a South African private equity firm which now has 100% shareholding in the Nigerian company.
For Coca Cola, while its major regions grew volumes by 2.2% in 2017, Nigeria’s volume fell behind. Strong competition from other mid-size drinks has made revenue growth difficult for both leaders in the soft-drink market in the country.
How Aje Group started
Ajegroup began in the late 1980s by the Añaños family in Ayacucho, Peru during the Peru’s military and terrorist conflict. This situation did not allow many vehicles to access the area where the family lived and many traditional soft drink brands were not available to the customers in the area.
The Añaños family saw the scarcity of drinks as a business opportunity and they developed Kola Real by using typical kitchen equipment and using recycled beer bottles.
The Nigerian unit of Aje Group, has it plant located at Agbara Industrial Estate, Agbara, Ogun State.