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Makers of Big Cola, AJEAST seals deal with DPEL to deepen market growth

Leading investor in emerging and frontier markets, Duet Private Equity Limited (DPEL), has announced the acquisition of a majority stake in AJEAST Nigeria Limited.

AJEAST is the sub-Saharan Africa subsidiary of AJE Group, a leading multinational non-alcoholic beverage manufacturer, makers of Big Cola, Big Orange, and a host of others.

Business Hilights recalls that the Company was officially launched in Nigeria, in September 2015, with a brand new state-of–the-art factory near Lagos, and has gained significant market share in the carbonated beverage segment.

This is coming as DPEL has moved to inject excess of $50million into the transaction to deepen growth capital as the proceeds will be used to accelerate in select international territories, launch of new products and brands, and increase AJEAST’s production capacity and volume.

Since this year, AJE Group has made significant inroad in capturing the soft beverage market sector in Africa and Nigeria in particular as the products are gradually becoming preferable amongst Nigerian youths.

The company said the transaction marks DPEL’s 6th investment in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector in sub-Sahara Africa, and its first in Nigeria, and will support AJEAST in further consolidating market share, as well as catalysing further expansion across the continent.

Co-Founder at Duet Group, Henry Gabay, 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.”

He added that the acquisition of AJEAST is a follow-up to previous investments in the beverage sector across Africa, saying: “We are excited to be able to leverage our experience in partnership with a prominent multinational like AJE Group.”

In his remarks, the Managing Director of DPEL, Manish Rungta noted that “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.”

In his reactions to the new partnership, Chairman of AJE Group, Angel Añaños, averred that “AJE’s history dates to 1988, and through our innovative approach and passion we became a leading player in Latin-America and Asia markets.”With plans to accelerate into the next phase of growth in Africa, Ananos said the company sought a partner that has the local platform and sector expertise to support AJE ambitions.

According to him, “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”.

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