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Africa’s Largest Coffee Chain Java House Acquired by Dubai Firm Abraaj

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The new Java House Parklands location in Nairobi. Java House Facebook photo.

As several of Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading coffee producing countries have also in recent years seen an emergence as consumer markets, the continent’s largest chain, Kenya-based Java House, may soon experience even more growth.

The Dubai-based Abraaj Group, which already has approximately $3.2 billion worth of holdings throughout the continent — much of which is in the retail sector — has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the Java House Group for an undisclosed amount.

Java House was founded in Nairobi by Kevin Ashley in 1999, growing to 13 locations in Kenya before being acquired by the Washington D.C.-based investment firm Emerging Capital Partners in 2012 purchased a majority stake in 2012. The company then expanded its retail presence to 60 locations across Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda — notably all major coffee-producing countries — while offering predominantly “export-quality” African coffees alongside a full food menu.

While the financial terms of the acquisition with ECP and Ashley, who had maintained a minority stake in the company, were not disclosed, Abraaj said in an announcement of the deal that the emerging middle class throughout various markets in Sub-Saharan Africa should make the brand poised for additional growth.

Said Abraaj Managing Partner Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, “Africa’s rapidly expanding middle class, sustained population growth and increasing urbanization is creating compelling investment opportunities in multiple sectors, and we believe Java House is ideally positioned to benefit from these trends.”

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