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Rai-owned Menengai buys water bottling company Aquamist

Customers walk past Various Juices and bottled water
Customers walk past Various Juices and bottled water on display at a supermarket. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Rai family-owned Menengai Group is set to acquire water bottler and beverages firm Aquamist, giving it a footprint in the business.

The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has given its nod to the proposed transaction that will see Menengai acquire the entire issued share capital of Aquamist through Aquapani Limited.

“Premised on the fact that the transaction is unlikely to raise negative competition or public interest concerns, the Authority approved the proposed acquisition of 100 percent of the issued shares in Aquamist Limited by Aquapani Limited,” CAK said in a statement.

Menengai formed Aquapani as wholly-owned subsidiary solely for this deal whose completion will also hand the group a stake in the increasingly lucrative juices and other non-alcoholic drinks business.

Besides being in the water bottling and distribution business, Aquamist also has Vital Juices and Aquamist-branded iced teas and flavoured water targeted at premium hospitality facilities such as luxury hotels and restaurants under its product portfolio.

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The firm, owned by the Premji family, has an estimated market share in Nairobi of nine percent and four percent nationally. It’s rival Maisha drinking water, managed by Ketepa, has an eight percent share.

Coca Cola’s Dasani was the market leader at about 23 percent as at 2017, according to Euromonitor data.

The Aquamist deal will deepen Rai family’s business portfolio that currently includes manufacturing of cooking oils, soaps and wood products.

It’s brand include cooking oil Top Fry, Somo Fry and Karibu. It also produces Menengai-branded petroleum jelly, milking jelly, laundry washing bars, detergents and dish washing liquid.

“Post-merger, the structure and concentration of the bottled water market is unlikely to change since the acquirer is not in the same market,” said CAK, noting it expects Aquamist to still face competition even after the deal.

Menengai Group was started in 1988 by Mr P.D. Shah and his father D.K. Shah. The Rai Group, took over ownership in 2011 following a buyout.

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