Java House Group set to change ownership

Nairobi, Kenya: Leading coffee chain, Java House is set to change ownership following interest by the Abraaj Group.

On Monday, The Abraaj Group said it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase, through its Funds, 100 percent of Java House Group from private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), and the Company’s founder and chairman, Kevin Ashley.

Java House Group was established in Nairobi in 1999. In 2012, Emerging Capital Partners acquired a majority stake in the Company, with the founder retaining a minority stake. ECP has helped Java House grow from 13 shops in Nairobi into East Africa’s largest casual dining brand, building an ‘eat-out’ culture. Today, it has an unrivalled regional footprint of 60 stores across 10 cities in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

Commenting on the transaction, Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, Managing Partner and Global Head of Private Equity at The Abraaj Group, said: “This landmark transaction, which showcases our ability to source outstanding assets across our target markets, is a compelling opportunity to build on Java House’s success story across sub-Saharan Africa, to create a true regional champion. Africa’s rapidly expanding middle class, sustained population growth and increasing urbanization is creating compelling investment opportunities in multiple sectors, and we believe Java House is ideally positioned to benefit from these trends.”

Bryce Fort, a Founding Partner of ECP and head of the pan-African firm’s Nairobi office added, “In partnership with Java’s founder Kevin Ashley and a talented management team, we have taken the business from one city and just 13 locations when we originally identified the deal and scaled it across East Africa to 3 countries and 60 sites today. Abraaj is taking over the reins of a powerhouse African brand at an exciting time in its growth trajectory with enormous potential to further expand a successful formula across the continent.”

Ken Kuguru, Chief Executive Officer of Java House said, “As Java House aims to accelerate into its next phase of growth, we were seeking a partner that has the scale, platform and sector expertise to enable us to achieve our aspirations. The Abraaj Group is that partner of choice and we look forward to working closely with their team to extend our market leadership position across the continent.

“Java House has had an extraordinary journey since its founding in 1999 and we are passionate about creating unique and innovative experiences for our customers everywhere. Emerging Capital Partners has been a critical catalyst in our growth story and we extend them our sincere thanks as we look ahead to an exciting future with our new partner.”

The transaction builds on Abraaj’s local knowledge, on the ground experience and strong networks in Africa where the Group has deployed US$3.2 billion in 80 transactions. It further leverages Abraaj’s strong and diversified experience in the food and beverage sector gained through partnerships with leading businesses across Asia, MENA and Latin America.


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