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Distell acquires majority stake in KWAL as Centum Investment exits

KWAL sold more than 8 million litres of alcoholic beverages in 2016 and owns a portfolio of leading local brands such as Kibao, Kingfisher and Caprice/file

Nairobi, Kenya, Apr 4 – South Africa’s Distell has bought 26.43 percent of KWA Holding East Africa Limited (KWAL) from Centum Investment Company Limited.

The African liquor giant now owns a majority shareholding of 52.43% in KWAL, having previously acquired a 26% stake from Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) in 2014.

ICDC’s shareholding in KWAL is not impacted by this transaction and they remain a significant shareholder in KWAL.

KWAL sold more than 8 million litres of alcoholic beverages in 2016 and owns a portfolio of leading local brands such as Kibao, Kingfisher and Caprice which have shown strong growth in recent years.

In a statement issued today, Distell said the deal increases its exposure to Kenya’s highly attractive economy and alcoholic beverage industry.

“With a population of over 47 million people, Kenya is expected to be one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, driven by rapid urbanisation and strong income per capita growth across major cities over the next decade. Spirits has been the fastest growing segment of Kenya’s alcoholic beverage industry and growth is anticipated to remain robust going forward,” said Donovan Hegland, Distell Africa, Managing Director.

“Our strategy is to expand geographically through acquisitions of and/or partnerships with regional scale players who have leading brands, rich heritage, and strong platforms in their core markets. We believe the strength of KWAL’s platform and key brands align with Distell’s strategic intent,” he added.

Carlos Gomes, KWAL’s Managing Director welcomed the transaction saying KWAL and Distell management will continue to work together.

“This will provide the platform for sustained growth and further cement KWAL’s position as Kenya’s national champion,” said Gomes

Distell’s relationship with Nairobi-based KWAL dates back to 1998 when KWAL started distributing a selection of Distell’s brands, including Viceroy, Amarula, Drostdy-Hof and Cellar Cask.

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Hegland said Distell would now forge ahead with growing the potential of the business and seek to expand local skills and build on the brand platforms that are already established in Kenya. This would be done through working closely with various local stakeholders.

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