Emerging Capital Partners backs Kenyan café Nairobi Java House


Pan-African private equity firm Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) has invested in Kenyan café and restaurant operator Nairobi Java House.

The news marks the first private equity deal in the restaurant sector in East Africa, and ECP’s second investment in the East Africa region from its latest fund, ECP Africa Fund III. In conjunction with this investment, ECP has announced it will be opening a new office in Nairobi, Kenya.

Nairobi Java House launched operations in 1999 and has since expanded across Nairobi, serving African-grown coffee alongside a full menu of international cuisine.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed; however ECP’s capital will be used to expand the Nairobi Java House operations and the number of locations around Kenya and the broader region, the firm said.

Kevin Ashley, CEO at Nairobi Java House said, “Quality and professionalism are deep-rooted in the Nairobi Java House culture and we are delighted that this has been recognized on a global stage. The facts of our success speak for themselves: sales have grown consistently as we have increased our number of outlets to 18 locations across Nairobi, with new branches slated to open in Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu in the coming year. We look forward to the next stage of growth, supported by market leading private equity firm ECP.”

Bryce Fort, a managing director at ECP, added, “Nairobi Java House enjoys an attractive positioning as both aspirational and yet obtainable by East Africa’s rapidly expanding consumer middle class and, as such, it sits perfectly with ECP’s investment thesis. We seek to back proven global business models that are being pursued across Africa and deployed to international standards. Nairobi Java House is a prime example of the success of the fast casual dining restaurant model and a reaffirmation of the growth to be found in East Africa – a growth market that we are supporting in the opening of our new office location in Nairobi.”

ECP has made over 50 investments and has accomplished more than twenty exits in a range of sectors, including financial services, telecoms, consumer products, agribusiness, logistics, industrials, and natural resources. In East Africa, ECP also currently holds investments in Wananchi Group, Kenya’s first triple play cable company and Spencon, a civil engineering and construction company established in 1979. Previous investments in the region include Celtel International and PanAfrican Energy.

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