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Vasari Beverages raises USD100m to fund expansion plans in Ethiopia and beyond

Frontier and emerging markets beverage investor ramps up production, seeks new greenfield opportunities and acquisition targets.

London, 18 June 2019: Vasari Beverages B.V. has completed a USD100million capital raise to fund a set of growth opportunities including expansion of its existing beverage operations in Ethiopia and the pursuit of new acquisitions and greenfield developments across Africa and Asia. RMB, a leading pan-African investment bank, acted as sole mandated lead arranger and funder.

Vasari Beverages is a leading frontier and emerging markets alcoholic beverage investor. Led by Vivian Imerman, the group has over 40 years’ experience operating market-leading 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, Vasari Group CEO Vivian Imerman noted: “Over the past 6 years we have been involved in the deployment of more than USD250million in capital investment to develop our frontier and emerging markets beverage strategy. Vasari Beverages 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 Beverages owns 98% of the controlling offshore company of Dashen Brewery S.C., one of Ethiopia’s largest breweries, having acquired the Duet Private Equity minority investors over the past three years. Since the first investment in 2012, Vasari has been instrumental in the deployment of USD120million to grow production capacity, at the time Dashen Brewery was producing 0.5 million hectolitres out of one brewery when Vasari entered and led the construction of a state-of-the-art continuous brewery which has now grown capacity fivefold, to 2.5 million hectolitres. Dashen will use some of the capital raised by Vasari to double total production capacity to 5 million hectolitres.

Vasari also plans to invest in boosting production capacity at Ethiopian based distiller Rorank Business S.C., one of the largest vertically integrated distillers in East Africa, which produces 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 USD50million 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 annual capacity of the business from the current 8 million litres of alcohol to 25 million litres capacity.

In 2016, Vasari acquired the operational assets of South African drinks producer KWV for USD 85million, one of South Africa’s oldest and most renowned spirits and wine producers. Established in 1918, KWV has a global footprint with a portfolio of brands represented in about 100 markets with 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.