Moroccan furniture retailer Kitea buys majority stake in Furniture Palace – Business Daily

A Furniture Palace store in Nairobi. PHOTO | COURTESY | FURNITURE PALACE
Moroccan furniture dealer Kitea Group backed by Africa-focused private equity firm Tana Africa Capital has bought a majority stake in Furniture Palace for an undisclosed amount, the firm announced Thursday.
The deal is subject to regulatory approvals. The parties have not disclosed the size of the majority stake in the transaction but an earlier regulatory filing before the Comesa Competition Commission (CCC) where the parties sought the nod to acquire the Kenyan furniture retailer said they planned to acquire 55.9 percent shareholding 
“The proposed acquisition relates to Tana Furniture directly acquiring a 27.95 percent shareholding in Furniture Palace International Limited and a 27.95 percent shareholding through Furniture For Africa (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kitea S.A which is in turn jointly controlled by Tana Furniture),” the Comesa agency had said in August last year.
“The shareholding acquired by Tana Furniture and FFA represents 55.9 percent of the share capital and voting rights of FPL.”
Kitea operates 30 stores in 17 cities in Morocco while Furniture Palace which was founded in 2002 by Kenyan businessman Noorali Manji, says it has a network of 9 stores in Nairobi, Mombasa and Eldoret.
Furniture Palace deals in home furniture, office furniture, and home décor.  
Kitea said Thursday in a statement the Kenya acquisition provides it with a gateway for expansion into the rest of the Africa region outside of Morocco.
“Kitea’s investment in Furniture Palace is in line with our vision to build the most diversified furniture distribution group in all of Africa,” said Kitea founder and chief executive Amine Benkirane in a statement.
“Our mission in Morocco has always been to democratise furniture while providing the best offer and customer experience to Moroccan consumers and we hope to extend this vision beyond the borders of Morocco.”
Tana Africa Capital has in recent years made several acquisitions in Kenya. The PE firm which was founded in 2011 by Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and South Africa’s wealthy E. Oppenheimer family has raised $600 million (Sh67.8 billion) since inception.
The 50/50 joint venture targets Africa’s growing young population and also focuses on agricultural production and processing of farm produce. 
Last year, the PE firm purchased a stake in Kenyan-based Kensington Distillers & Vintners. 
It also concluded buying a minority stake in Quality Meat Packers (QMP) and its sister company, Anirita Poultry Farm.
The joint venture also targets media, education, and healthcare across Africa, but not to the same extent as the consumer and agriculture sectors.
Africa is seen as an increasingly attractive investment destination, thanks to its abundant resources, fast-growing population, and growing personal incomes.


By Kwetu Buzz

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