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Kenya's Java House targets Africa expansion

BUSINESS
By Reuters | October 15th 2015

Kenya’s Java House has 36 coffee houses and restaurants and plans to open outlets across Africa in the next five years to capitalise on rising consumer spending, its chief executive said.

Kevin Ashley, who founded Java’s first outlet in Nairobi in 1999, said the company would open in Kigali, Dar es Salaam, Lagos, Accra and Lusaka. For now, the firm’s only outlets beyond Kenya are in Uganda’s capital Kampala.

“We see in five years time we are going to be having a major presence in most of the major urban centers of Africa,” he told Reuters at his office over one of his Java outlets, which offer coffees, teas and a menu of international food.

His ambition reflects the confidence of many African and other firms about rising spending power on a continent that boasts several fast-growing economies, even if a commodity price slide has taken some of the shine off the “Africa Rising” theme.

Ashley, who sold 90 percent of the company to Africa-focused Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) for an undisclosed sum in 2012, said there was growing demand for the chain’s products, from a cup of coffee worth $1.50 to $10 steaks. “We can’t keep up with the growth of our customer base in Africa so we have enough to keep us busy,” he said.

Annual revenue was more than Sh3 billion in 2014 and is expected to hit Sh4 billion next year, Ashley said, adding the firm had been funding growth from its own revenue

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