•Since 2019 East Africa has seen a surge in investments from Mauritius, with banking, insurance, agriculture, telecoms, trade as well as the oil and gas sectors receiving most of the capital.
•In 2021, A Mauritian conglomerate IBL Group acquired a 26.32 per cent stake in supermarket chain Naivas Limited for $100 million(Sh15.8billion) at current rate.
Mauritian investors have intensified investments in the country with the latest acquisition of Kenya Bottling Company Limited.
The acquisition is a shift from the retail and banking space that the Mauritian investors have been pumping their funds.
In a gazette notice the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) approved the unconditional acquisition of the entire issued share capital of the bottling firm by Mauritius-based Crown Beverages Limited.
In a Gazette Notice on Friday, the competition watchdog granted the approval based on the finding that the transaction was unlikely to negatively impact competition in the non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages.
“Pursuant to the provisions of section 46 (6) of the Competition Act, 2010, it is notified for general information that in exercise of the powers conferred upon the Competition Authority by section 46 (6) (a) (ii) of the Competition Act, the Competition Authority has authorised the proposed transaction as set out herein,” the gazetted notice reads in part.
KBCL joins players such as Naivas, Quickmart, Credit bank that came under Mauritian Investors in the past year.
Since 2019 East Africa has seen a surge in investments from Mauritius, with banking, insurance, agriculture, telecoms, trade as well as the oil and gas sectors receiving most of the capital.
In 2014, The Mauritius Union Assurance Company Limited entered Kenya by acquiring Phoenix Trans Africa Holdings, with controlling shares in its subsidiaries in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. The transaction was valued at $22 million (Sh3.5 billion at the current market rate).
In 2017, the State Bank of Mauritius Holdings Ltd acquired the troubled Kenyan lender Fidelity Commercial Bank through its subsidiary SBM Africa Holdings Ltd. In 2018 SBM concluded the acquisition of Chase Bank, a mid-tier lender that had been put under receivership.
In 2021, A Mauritian conglomerate IBL Group acquired a 26.32 per cent stake in supermarket chain Naivas Limited for $100 million (Sh15.8billion) at current rate.
In 2023 SMEs-focused lender–Credit Bank on-boarded Mauritius-based private equity fund Shorecap III, LP as part of its shareholding structure, after a successful acquisition of a 20 per cent stake.
In 2024 CAK has just approved, Crown Beverages, a company established and registered in Mauritius, exclusively operating without subsidiaries or a market presence in Kenya to acquire the bottling firm.
Kenya Bottling Company is a locally incorporated enterprise running a bottling plant in Nairobi, functioning independently as a bottler for PepsiCo products within the Kenyan market.
Following the merger with a combined turnover or assets exceeding Sh1 billion are obligated to obtain approval from the Authority before executing planned transactions.
The non-alcoholic beverages sector in Kenya is characterised by a blend of multinational corporations and local entities, offering a diverse range of products to cater to various consumer preferences.
“The transaction qualifies as a merger within the meaning of Section two and 41 of the Competition Act No. 12 of 2010 which stipulates that a merger, or takeover, may occur when an undertaking directly or indirectly acquires control over another business within Kenya. This may happen through, among others, purchase/lease of shares, exchange of shares or vertical integration,” CAK noted.
Coca-Cola dominates the carbonated drinks segment with a market share of 93.9 percent, trailed by Highlands at 3.6 percent, and Pepsi at 1.5 percent.
The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has emphasised that one criterion for evaluating the impact of a merger on competition is the post-merger market share of the entities involved in the transaction.
“With regard to the proposed merger, the post-merger market share in the market for non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages will not change since the acquirer has no market presence in Kenya,” added CAK.