Markets & Finance

Nairobi salons chain sells stake to Dutch fund


A client being attended at the Amadiva Salon at 14 Riverside Drive in Nairobi. Photo/SALATON NJAU

A Netherlands-based private equity fund has bought a minority stake in a high-end Nairobi salons chain that is seeking capital to expand across East Africa.

TBL Mirror Fund announced last week that it has acquired a minority stake in Neo Amadiva, which has salon outlets in Nairobi’s Riverside and Hurlingham suburbs.

Neo Amadiva said the cash will be used to expand the salon chain through new branches and franchising branded stores in urban areas across East Africa.

“The capital will enable us to pioneer and roll out a salon concept that will deliver premier grooming services and products at international standards targeted at the growing aspirational black middle class in Africa,” Amadiva founder and chief executive Maureen Murunga said in a statement.

The value of stake acquired was not disclosed, though TBL said its average investment is about Sh85 million ($1 million) per deal. The investment is full equity.

TBL says Amadiva’s target market of working class women falls within its investment criteria of high-growth— small businesses that are being driven by the emerging middle class.

“The sustained growth in consumerism continues to play a critical role in the development of economies in the region,” said TBL Mirror Fund’s managing partner Eline Blaauboer.

A private equity report by consultancy Deloitte said that all consumer-industries in the region are expected to expand due to a growing middle class but added that the most profitable businesses among these are those targeting the high-end of the market.

READ: Luxury brands flock to Kenya as middle class tastes grow

Deloitte said that the big potential in this market explains the combined expansion of high-end retail stores and the construction of shopping malls in major urban areas.

“The further you move up through income levels, the more money is available for outright consumption, Shopping malls, for example, have been an important part of Actis’ real estate investments,” said Deloitte’s Private Equity Confidence Survey 2013.

Actis, a private equity firm, is constructing the 50,000 square metre Garden City Mall which on completion will be the biggest shopping mall in East and Central Africa.

South Africa-based retail chains Foschini and Edgars have confirmed that they will be tenants in the mall by the end of the year when the first phase is complete.

Private equity funds typically do not disclose the exact size and nature of investments to prevent jeopardising future deals or revealing trade secrets.

In addition to having a seat on the salon’s board, TBL has also brought in Peta Klaassen, the former chief executive of Wave, a franchise salon store with 200 branches across Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg, to help Amadiva in product development.

Amadiva was formed in 2010 when Ms Murunga purchased two salons from Beauty Clinic Limited which ran salons under the Urembo brand.