YES Water Sells 50pc Stake to Mauritian Investment Firm


The move will increase local mobility, open up the potential for exporting Ethiopian water




Catalyst Principal Partners has acquired a 50pc stake in the Yes Brands Food & Beverages Plc.

Catalyst started negotiations for the deal with Yes water a year ago. The two companies finalised the talks by signing an agreement, at the Ministry of Industry (MoI), on Monday, May 13, 2013 in the presence of Tadesse Haile, state minister.

The shares of the company were sold for an undisclosed amount.

“The move by Yes is unique to the water sector in Ethiopia,” decision told Fortune. “The move by the company to partner with an international firm should be lauded.”

The purpose of the partnership is to increase the local company’s mobility in the local market and to turn its attention towards exporting Ethiopian bottled water, according to Tadesse.

“Ethiopia is amongst the fastest growing economies in Africa, with the continent’s second largest population, representing a compelling investment opportunity, particularly in consumer oriented sectors,” Marlene Ngoyi, investment principal at Catalyst, told Fortune.

“Yes Water is a widely recognised Ethiopian brand, with a leading market share, as the premier mineral water company in the country, and our aim is to build upon Yes Water’s strengths to support accelerated growth of the business in Ethiopia and across the region, through enhanced operational capacity, deeper distribution and product innovation,” she said.

Yes Natural Mineral Water is sourced from springs at Wechecha Mountain, located in Sebeta, Oromia Region. Catalyst plans to work with the brand to increase the availability of its water in the region.

Catalyst, headquartered in Ebene, Mauritius, has recently invested in ChemiCotex Industries Ltd – a Tanzanian company that makes oral and personal care products; and Chair Bora Ltd – a Tanzanian tea packaging company. The private equity firm manages Catalyst Fund I LLC – a 125 million dollar fund that invests in eastern Africa, including; Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The fund focuses on investments in the consumer goods, retail, financial, business services, industrials, and manufacturing, technology and telecommunications sectors. Its investments range from five to 20 million dollars.

Fortune’s repeated attempts to get a comment from the executives at Yes Water were not successful.

The number of bottled water brands has increased to nine in Addis Abeba, in 2012, since the first introduction of the product to the country, by Highland Springs, Appex Bottling Company, in 1999.  There are now also close to 21 water bottling companies throughout the country.



By YETNEBERK TADELE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on May 19, 2013 [ Vol 13 ,No 681]


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