Photograph — AJE

Duet Private Equity Limited (DPEL), known for its investments in emerging and frontier markets, recently announced that it has acquired a majority stake in AJEAST Nigeria Limited in a deal reported to be worth $50 million.

Duet Private Equity Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Duet Group. It’s investment team has built a strong track record of sourcing, structuring, executing, managing and creating value. The team’s innovative strategy is built on an entrepreneurial culture, backed by a best-in-class institutional structure.

DPEL also has the capacity to create and execute proprietary private equity transactions in select industries and sectors across Emerging- and Frontier Markets, as well as opportunistic Special Situations.

Since its launch in Nigeria in September 2015, AJEAST has been a major player in the Carbonated Soft Drinks Market. With brands such as Big Cola, Big Orange and Big Lemon it has gained significant market share in the carbonated beverage segment through effective marketing strategies and a strong value proposition, which has been achieved by offering the consumers more value for less.

Chief Investment Officer (CIO) DPEL, and Co-Founder at Duet Group, Henry Gabay, spoke of Duet’s strong belief in the African consumer growth story. With the growing number of middle-income households in Nigeria and some West-African markets, more consumers are entering the formal economy through urbanisation, the demand for products such as BIG Cola will grow exponentially. He stressed that the acquisition of AJEAST follows the company’s previous investments in the beverage sector across Africa and expressed excitement at being able to leverage on their experience in the partnership with a prominent multinational like AJE Group.

This investment is DPEL’s sixth in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector in sub-Saharan Africa, and its first in Nigeria. This development is aimed at supporting AJEAST to further consolidate market shares, facilitate the launch of new products and brands, increase production capacity and volume and hasten further expansion across the continent.

Chairman of AJE Group, Angel Añaños, gave AJE’s history dating back to 1988, explaining how their innovative approach and passion has led them to become 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 widening our product reach of affordable value beverages to the African consumer,” he said.

“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.”

What you didn’t know about AJEAST Nigeria Limited.

AJEAST is the sub-Saharan Africa subsidiary of AJE Group. AJE Group is one of the largest multinational beverage companies in the world, with a presence in over 23 countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

According to Euromonitor in 2011, AJE is the 10th largest soft drink company in sales volume and the 4th largest producer of carbonated soft drinks.

Their state of the art factory in Nigeria is one of only 2 located in Africa.

In April 2018, the company signed an agreement with LaLiga, the men’s top professional football division of the Spanish football league system, making them one of their regional partners in Nigeria.


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