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Africa|Aluminium|Business|Environment|Export|Manufacturing|Packaging|supply-chain|Systems|Manufacturing |Packaging|Solutions|Operations
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Affirma exits pure play beverage can GZI investment after ten years

30th November 2023

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Private equity firm Affirma Capital has exited its investment in the GZI Group (GZI) to global investment business Oppenheimer Partners, following its ten-year investment in Africa’s largest pure-play beverage can packaging solutions provider.

This transaction is a significant industry milestone for completed exits within Africa private equity’s large cap segment, Affirma Capital said.

During its ownership period, Affirma Capital led the transition of GZI from an owner-managed business to a market-leading business with an independent management team and best-in-class governance systems.

This has catalysed a systematic approach to shaping growth amid a tough macroeconomic environment. Affirma Capital has also been instrumental in reshaping the Group’s balance sheet for resilience and defensiveness across its markets. This has enabled GZI to become Africa’s leading beverage can manufacturer, it said.

GZI is a manufacturer and producer of premium-quality aluminium cans for global blue-chip beverage brands in Africa. It supplies beverage cans into key regional markets across sub-Saharan Africa. GZI has production capacity of three-billion cans a year and employs about 1 000 people.

Since 2012, Affirma Capital led GZI’s expansion in Nigeria, launching its second plant and crystallised GZI’s strong market position in West Africa amidst increasing competition. The expansion saw GZI go from a single plant with nameplate capacity of 1.2-billion cans a year to two plants with total nameplate capacity of 1.8-billion cans a year.

In 2018, Affirma Capital led a capital raise to co-fund GZI’s expansion into South Africa. This resulted in Oppenheimer Partners acquiring a stake in GZI.

Following this transaction, the two investment firms successfully executed GZI’s entry into South Africa and shaped GZI’s expansion strategy from a single-country operation into a regional packaging leader with operations in Nigeria and South Africa, and an impressive export market reach.

“We are proud of the work we’ve 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 Affirma Capital founding partner and sub-Saharan Africa head Ronald Tamale.

“Since then, we have shaped a successful growth strategy culminating in market leadership across sub-Saharan Africa. GZI now boasts three world-class manufacturing facilities in Nigeria and South Africa, which are Africa’s largest economies, and we played a pivotal role in GZI’s transformation.

“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,” he said.

GZI has received global recognition and certifications of its operations and, in 2023, was awarded the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative performance standard, which is a global initiative that works with the aluminium value chain to collaboratively foster responsible production, sourcing and stewardship of aluminium, said Affirma Capital.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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