Phoenix Beverages Ltd Granted Approval to Acquire Minority Control in African Originals

The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has given its nod to Mauritius-based Phoenix Beverages Ltd (PBL), a subsidiary of IBL Ltd, to acquire minority control in African Originals, paving the way for the deal’s completion.

African Originals, registered in England and Wales, is the parent company of Savannah Brands Company, renowned for its production of brands like Kenya Originals.

Despite Phoenix Beverages having no prior operations in Kenya, the IBL Group holds numerous investments in the country, including stakes in Naivas Ltd.

Under the approved agreement, PBL will secure a 28.15% stake in African Originals.

CAK has assessed the transaction and concluded that it is unlikely to have adverse effects on competition in the market for alcoholic ciders, alcoholic spirits, and non-alcoholic ready-to-drink (NARTD) beverages.

While the deal involves PBL acquiring a minority share, CAK evaluated it as a merger due to PBL also obtaining “minority controlling rights” regarding budgets, annual business plans, and senior executive appointments. This will effectively grant PBL de facto control over African Originals.

Moreover, the transaction meets the criteria for mergers as its value exceeds Sh1 billion.

Despite Africa Originals/Savannah Brands’ relatively modest market share, its flagship product, Kenya Originals cider, has steadily gained traction since the company’s establishment in 2019.

The brewery has diversified its product range with the introduction of new offerings like Kenyan Originals Gin and Kenyan Originals Iced Tea and Tonic, demonstrating its commitment to expanding its market footprint.

“Phoenix’s parent company, IBL, publicly listed in Mauritius, has been instrumental in Naivas’ remarkable growth trajectory, aiming to address gaps in the retail sector,” as reported by Kenyan WallStreet.

However, the beverage market presents unique challenges with established players and brands, potentially making market penetration more challenging than in the retail sector.


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