Java deal lands ECP Africa investor award

Saturday October 13 2012

The multi-million dollar deal that saw Nairobi Java House sell a majority stake to a US private equity fund has won the Africa Investor (Ai) deal of the year award.

KCB won the Ai bank of the year award, while Equity Bank chief executive James Mwangi scooped Africa’s innovation leader of the year prize.

The awards in 16 different categories were presented at an Ai summit held on the sidelines of the bi-annual IMF World Bank meetings in Tokyo, Japan.

The Java House deal which saw the Washington DC based ECP acquire a majority stake in the Kenyan coffee chain was made public early this year.

The transaction amount was not made public, but ECP managing director, Bryce Fort, said at the time that it fell within the private equity firm’s average deal.

“We, in ECP, are strong believers in Africa’s growing middle class,” said ECP chief executive Hurley Doddy in a video address to the summit after winning the award.


The middle class clientele has also been targeted by other global restaurants. KFC, the America food chain, also set up shop in Kenya with plans of going to the other countries in the region.

South African food chains such as Galitos have also been expanding their retail footprint in the market by opening smaller outlets in some of Nairobi’s neighbourhoods.

The Ai judges looked for “evidence of innovation in the deal structure” when choosing the winner of the deal of the year.

Java has more than 13 outlets that are mostly situated in Kenya’s urban, middle income neighbourhoods. The restaurant chain said it plans to expand across East Africa in the major capitals such as Kampala and Kigali.

The casual dining restaurant chain was founded 13 years ago by Kevin Ashley and John Wagner, both Americans.

Its annual turnover has since grown to more than Ksh1 billion ($11,900), reflecting the high growth potential for the sector whose value is estimated at Ksh51 billion as per the 2012 Economic Survey report.

Other contestants for the deal of the year award included private equity firms Citadel Capital and Actis.