Vasari Beverages to invest $100m in African breweries

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Alcoholic beverage investor Vasari Beverages has completed a $100-million capital raise to fund the expansion of its existing beverage operations in Ethiopia, as well as to pursue new acquisitions and greenfield development opportunities across Africa and Asia.

Vasari, majority owned by CEO Vivian Imerman and the Imerman family, with Investec as co-investor, has about 40 years’ experience operating consumer goods companies across emerging and developed markets, including Scottish distiller Whyte & Mackay, global fruit-based drinks and products company Del Monte International and confectionary producer Nabisco SA.

Commenting on the capital raise, Imerman noted that over the past six years, Vasari had deployed more than $250-million in capital investment to develop its developed markets and emerging markets beverage strategy.

“Vasari has a highly activist investment approach and seeks to build long-term sustainable value. This capital injection is a step forward in pursuing our investment strategy across compelling opportunities in our target regions.”

Vasari owned 98% of Dashen Brewery, one of Ethiopia’s largest breweries.

Since the first investment in 2012, Vasari used $120-million to grow production capacity at Dashen. Dashen had been producing 500 000 hectolitres out of one brewery when Vasari entered the business and led the construction of a continuous brewery which increased production capacity to 2.5-million hectolitres.

Dashen will use some of the capital raised by Vasari to double its production capacity to five-million hectolitres.

Vasari also plans to invest in boosting production capacity at Ethiopia-based distiller Rorank Business, one of the largest vertically integrated distillers in East Africa, producing a range of distilled liquor products under the Super Eagle and Crystal brands.

In 2014, Vasari acquired a majority stake in the business and, to date, the company has invested $50-million and grown the workforce to over 500 people by investing in new capacity, brand development and strengthening sales infrastructure.

Rorank will use some of the capital raised to build a new distillery, tripling the yearly capacity of the business from the current eight-million litres of alcohol to 25-million litres.

Moreover, in 2016, Vasari acquired the operational assets of South African drinks producer KWV, one of South Africa’s oldest and most renowned spirits and wine producers, for $85-million.

Established in 1918, KWV has a global footprint with a portfolio of brands represented in about 100 markets. It operates the largest distillery under one roof in the southern hemisphere.

KWV has been recognised as the World’s Best Brandy Producer at the International Wine and Spirits Competition and the Highest Ranked South African Wine Brand in Drinks International’s World’s Top 50 Most Admired Wine Brands. Source: Engineering News

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