Amethis scores swift exit as Proparco, others bet on Kenya’s Naivas

 Amethis scores swift exit as Proparco, others bet on Kenya’s Naivas

Amethis, which was one of the most active alternative investors in Africa last year with half a dozen new transactions and exits, has struck the first liquidity move of 2022 after striking a couple of new investment deals in Egypt and Ivory Coast.

The pan-African private equity firm joined co-investors DEG, MCB Private Equity and IFC to reach an agreement to sell their stake in Kenyan supermarket chain Naivas.

The consortium is selling their stake in the Mauritius holding company in a deal that would see the Mukuha family continue holding majority control, while bringing in Mauritius conglomerate IBL Group as the lead investor of a consortium of new equity partners. IBL Group also operates the Winners supermarket chain in Mauritius.

IBL Group’s partners in the consortium include Proparco and existing investor DEG. This marks IBL Group’s first investment as part of their expansion strategy in East Africa.

The new investors picked up a 40% stake in the holding company for an undisclosed amount. Proparco separately said it is investing $31.5 million.

Naivas was Amethis Fund II’s fourth investment and now its first exit. In the course of the two-year investment period, Naivas has grown its total number outlets from around 60 to more than 84 stores and in the process added five new cities to its footprint in Kenya.

The group has also added about 1,700 new employees in the period.

Shareholders have been advised by EY, Bowmans and Rothschild, whereas PwC, Benoit Chambers, Kaplan & Stratton and Ibis have been associated with the new investors.

Established in 1990 by the Mukuha family, Naivas started as a family business in the small town of Rongai, located on the outskirts of Nakuru town in Kenya’s Rift Valley. From 2001, the company expanded to Nairobi where it opened its first branch on Ronald Ngala Street. The activity of Naivas then migrated to Nairobi through subsequent openings and acquisitions.

Vivek Sinha

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