Kenyan private equity firm buys into Ethiopian food firm

NAIROBI Tue May 14, 2013 5:36am EDT

NAIROBI May 14 (Reuters) - Kenya-based private equity firm Catalyst said it had acquired a 50 percent stake in Ethiopian food and drink maker Yes Brands to tap into the Horn of Africa nation's large population and fast economic growth.

Mauritius-registered Catalyst Principal Partners raised $125 million last year for its Catalyst Fund 1 to be invested in consumer growth-related opportunities in a region with some of the world's fastest growing economies.

Paul Kavuma, Catalyst's chief executive, said it would build on the strength of Yes Brands in mineral water bottling by investing in operational capacity and product distribution.

The value of the deal was not disclosed due to confidentiality clauses in the agreement.

Officials in Addis Ababa said last year they expected Ethiopia's economy to expand by 11 percent in the 2012/13 fiscal year.

Catalyst is also looking to invest in east Africa's property market, Kavuma said last month. (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Richard Lough and Tom Pfeiffer)

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