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South African Billionaire Family Acquires Nigeria’s GZ Industries

In a move to capitalise on Nigeria’s economic resurgence, Oppenheimer Partners, a global investment firm, has acquired full control of GZ Industries Limited, Nigeria’s top beverage can manufacturer.

The firm is owned by the Oppenheimer family, a top billionaire family in South Africa.

According to a statement on Thursday from Affirma who didn’t disclose further details, the firm bought the shares it didn’t own in GZ Industries from Affirma Capital, a private equity formerly known as Standard Chartered Private Equity.

“We are proud of the work we have done to build a market-leading, multinational packaging business in Africa. When we first invested in GZI, the business was a single-plant, single-country operation,” said Ronald Tamale, founding partner and sub-Saharan Africa head at Affirma Capital.

The private equity firm had a 37.5 percent stake in the supplier of cans to companies including Coca-Cola Co.

With this acquisition, the firm has expanded its presence in Africa’s largest economy, taking over a company that produces three billion aluminium cans annually.

The move is also seen as a strategic play to tap into the region’s growing demand for sugary drinks, with urban, educated adults in sub-Saharan Africa consuming the most sugary drinks globally, according to a Nature Communications study.

“During our investment period, we have navigated complex macroeconomic headwinds including fx illiquidity challenges in Nigeria, supply chain disruptions, commodity price volatility, and an uncertain economic outlook in GZI’s core markets.

“Despite this, we’ve remained disciplined by focusing on delivering growth, margin expansion, and the protection of shareholder value. The sale of our stake to Oppenheimer Partners demonstrates the robustness of our partnership since 2018,” Tamale said.

The acquisition of GZ Industries aligns with Oppenheimer Partners’ long-standing track record of successful investments in Africa. Since 2008, the firm has invested in 11 companies across the continent, completing exits from eight of them and generating over $800 million in returns for investors.


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