Standard Chartered Private Equity (“SCPE”), the investing arm of Standard Chartered Bank, announced that it has acquired 13% of Choppies Enterprises Limited (“Choppies”), a leading Southern African grocery retailer. This transaction is believed to be the largest private equity investment in the history of Botswana.
Choppies is listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange and operates more than 100 supermarkets and hyperstores, employing more than 10,000 people, in Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The Company has grown from a single outlet back in 1986, to become the largest retailer and largest private-sector employer in Botswana. Festus Mogae, the former President of Botswana, is the Chairman of the Choppies Board of Directors.
In addition to its market-leading position in Botswana, Choppies has, in recent years, also built a significant presence in the South African market. The South African expansion has initially focused on semi-urban communities in the North West, Northern, and Limpopo provinces. In 2012, the Company opened a large distribution centre in Rustenburg, and uses that facility to service its current South African network of 23 supermarkets. Over time, Choppies expects to grow the South African business to at least 80 stores, representing about 40% of projected revenues. Choppies also recently acquired 10 supermarkets and a distribution centre in and around Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Post that acquisition, the Company has already opened two additional stores in Zimbabwe, and plans to continue expanding rapidly in that market.
Ram Ottapathu, the CEO of Choppies, said, “We are pleased to have SCPE as an investor in our company. Standard Chartered Bank has been a good financial partner to Choppies through the years. As we continue our profitable growth across Southern Africa, this major equity investment will further strengthen that productive relationship, bringing additional bandwidth to our Board, and better value to our stakeholders.”
Peter Baird, the head of SCPE’s Africa team, said, “Choppies is a great success story, in progress, of entrepreneurship, job creation, and commitment to Africa’s economic potential. The company is one of Standard Chartered Bank’s valued clients, and this investment is an example of how the bank supports long-term growth, and lives the brand promise to be ‘Here for good’. We are excited to play a part in the next phase of Choppies’ growth.” Baird will join Choppies’ Board as a non-executive director with immediate effect.