Amethis bows out of Naivas International, sells stake to Mauritius investor IBL Group

KENYA – French private fund Amethis and World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) have sold an estimated 30 per cent stake in Naivas Supermarket, a retail chain in Kenya.

According to a press-release by Naivas, IBL Group, largest conglomerate in Mauritius has led a consortium of investors i.e., Proparco, a subsidiary of Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) and DEG, subsidiary of German KfW Group, into acquiring minority stake in the mass distribution company.

Amethis, alongside its partners DEG, MCB Equity Fund and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, acquired an estimated 30% stake in Naivas in April 2020.

“We are proud to have been in the Kenyan retail landscape and supported a very successful Kenyan business who understands best the Kenyan consumer,” said Frank-Astere Ndiyo Butoyi, Investment Director at Amethis.

“As we exit our investment, we wish IBL and the Naivas International team the best for the future.”

The sale of stake by the previous investors represents an unusually short investment period for institutional investors that typically hold companies for seven years or more.

However, during the two-year investment period, the supermarket chain has grown from a branch count of 60 outlets to 84 stores spread across the country.

Amethis invested in Naivas International in 2020 and their strength in partnering with family-owned businesses has led to a demonstrable step-up in governance and growth,” said Andreas von Paleske, Head of Strategy at Naivas.

Amethis sale of this stake in Naivas International represents the successful culmination of their partnership with the business. We are now thrilled to embark on the next phase of this journey and welcome an exciting partnership with IBL.”

Naivas is set to benefit from not only IBL’s deep pockets but also its significant expertise in the retail sector as it operates the leading supermarket chain in Mauritius, Winners.

“This is a symbolic move for us. This family business created in 1990 is an example of a success story that has continued to grow despite the pandemic thanks to its strong business model,” said Arnaud Lagesse, IBL’s Chief Executive Officer.

“With 84 outlets in 20 cities and towns across Kenya, it has put modern grocery retail within everyone’s reach. Naivas also contributes to the Kenyan economy, notably by employing over 8,000 people.”

The investment in Naivas International is IBL’s biggest investment in history and will give it a platform for further investments in East Africa.

Under the new deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, Naivas International and Amethis were advised by Bowmans, Ernst and Young and Rothschild & Co.

Meanwhile the IBL consortium was adviced by Benoit Chambers, Kaplan & Stratton and PWC.

Naivas has grown to become one of Kenya’s largest companies by sales and employment, reports Business Daily.

The retailer is set to close the financial year ending this month with a gross turnover of US$860 million with an ambition of raising it to US$1 billion in the next financial year.

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