Dubai's Abraaj buys East Africa's biggest casual dining chain

The private equity firm says it will expand Java House Group across the continent
Dubai-based private equity firm The Abraaj Group said it had bought the largest casual dining and food services chain in East Africa and would expand it further across the continent.
By Courtney Trenwith
Mon 03 Jul 2017 11:09 AM

Dubai-based private equity firm The Abraaj Group said it had bought the largest casual dining and food services chain in East Africa and would expand it further across the continent.

Java House Group, which was established in Nairobi, Kenya in 1999, operates 60 stores in 10 cities in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

Abraaj bought 100 percent of the company from its founder (a minority stake) and Emerging Capital Partners, which had bought a majority stake in 2012 and helped to expand the brand, building an eat-out culture.

The group has three brands: Java House, the largest coffee-led, all-day casual dining concept; Planet Yogurt, the region’s first self-service frozen yogurt chain; and 360 Degrees Artisan Pizza, an upmarket Italian pizzeria concept. Java House also operates commercial coffee roasteries, providing coffee and bean to its own stores and to supermarkets, hotels, restaurants and wholesale buyers.

It employs 2,000 people.

Abraaj manging director and global head of private equity Mustafa Abdel-Wadood said the acquisition was a “landmark transaction”

“[The acquisition is a] compelling opportunity to build on Java House’s success story across sub-Saharan Africa, to create a true regional champion,” he said.

“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.”

Abraaj, which typically invests in growth markets, said it intends to build Java House Group into the leading pan-African casual dining and food services platform, expanding into new markets and through acquisitions.

The firm has already deployed $3.2 billion through 80 transactions on the continent.

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