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Kenya’s Java House eyes IPO as parent company Actis seeks buyer

The 73-store coffee chain is mulling a Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) listing as London-based owner Actis begins the process of divesting from the business

Photo credit: Java House Group

Kenyan coffee chain Java House has indicated it will pursue an IPO as parent company Actis seeks to divest from the business. London-based investment firm Actis has reportedly appointed Africa-focused advisory firm Flamingo Capital Partners to seek potential buyers for the coffee and casual dining group – its fourth sale since 2012.
“The opportunity in the public markets still exists for us. As management, at the end of the day, it’s to make the business ready for that and prepare the business for such a day and we are sure that day is coming, it’s just a matter of when. When the shareholders decide that an IPO is the way to go, we will be ready for it,” Java Coffee House Chief Finance Officer Orge Godana told reporters.
Java House currently operates 68 stores in Kenya, three in Uganda and two in Rwanda and is widely credited with popularising domestic coffee consumption in Kenya, a major producer of arabica with total coffee exports valued at $327m in 2022.
The coffee chain was founded by US entrepreneurs Kevin Ashley and John Wagner and opened its first store in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1999. In 2012 Washington DC-based investment Emerging Capital Partners purchased a 90% stake in Java House from the founders, an investment which enabled the coffee chain to scale from 13 outlets in Nairobi to more than 60 stores across ten cities in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
2017 saw the coffee chain fully acquired by now defunct Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Group in a deal reportedly worth over $100m. Java House was acquired by UK-based private equity fund and current owners Actis in 2019 following the liquidation of Abraaj.
In November 2022 Java House appointed Priscilla Gathungu as its first Kenyan CEO and who currently leads the business. Java House is part of the Java House Group, which also manages food manufacturer Foodscape alongside fast-casual brands Kukito, planetyogurt and 360 Degrees Artisan Pizza.

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