India’s biggest cookie manufacturer, Britannia Industries Ltd., clinched a deal for operations in Kenya as part its plan to expand in Africa.
The company teamed up with Nairobi-based Kenafric Industries to purchase Catalyst Capital-backed Britania Foods Ltd. in Kenya in a $20 million transaction that also involved acquiring property and a plant, Mikul Shah, a director at Kenafric, said in an interview. Britannia Industries, unrelated to Britania Foods, took a controlling stake in the partnership, he said.
The refurbished factory in Nairobi is scheduled to be commissioned this week, according to Kenafric.
Britannia is a 130-year old company whose brands include Good Day and Marie Gold cookies in India. It has been looking to add capacity in Africa, where governments want to expand their industries and reduce imports of products that can be made locally.
The company recently set up contract-packing facilities in Egypt and Uganda, and has been considering ventures in Kenya and Nigeria, Bloomberg reported in March.
Britannia Industries didn’t immediately respond to questions about the Kenya deal when contacted on Tuesday.
Kenafric, which is backed by private equity firms Paris-based Amethis and Johannesburg-based Metier, is a family-owned business that started in 1987 as a footwear maker. It entered the biscuits business four years ago, according to Shah, as it expanded into products including confectionery, beverages, stationery and food spices. It has a presence in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Congo, Burundi and Malawi.
“We had to make a big investment or think of what to do because it was too small to stay within our portfolio,” Shah said about the biscuits business. The deal with Britannia Industries will help Kenafric to become Kenya’s second-largest biscuit-maker from No. 5, he said.