South African billionaire family buys Nigeria’s top beverage can maker

Jonathan Oppenheimer

A South African billionaire family popularly known as Oppenheimer has acquired a controlling stake in one of Nigeria’s prominent can makers, GZ.

The acquisition was completed by Jonathan Oppenheimer, one of the sons of the second richest man in Africa, Nicky Oppenheimer, who reportedly secured the full control of GZ Industries Ltd., Nigeria’s prominent beverage can manufacturer, signaling a bet on the potential revitalization of Africa’s largest economy.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the acquisition of the remaining shares in GZ Industries from Affirma Capital (formerly Standard Chartered Private Equity) was completed through their company, Oppenheimer Partners Limited.

Although the financial specifics of the deal remain undisclosed, the private equity firm had held a significant 37.5% stake in GZ Industries, a key supplier of cans to major entities such as Coca-Cola Co.

GZ first began operations in Nigeria in 2019. Ayodeji Adelakun is the Executive Director and Group Chief Executive Officer of the company.

This move is poised to empower Jonathan Oppenheimer to steer the trajectory of GZ Industries’ expansion within sub-Saharan Africa.

The region stands as a pivotal market, with urban, educated adults boasting the world’s highest consumption of sugary drinks, averaging 12.4 servings per week, according to research published by Nature Communications.

The acquisition strategically aligns with tapping into this lucrative consumer base.

Oppenheimer Partners initially entered the GZI venture in 2018, coinciding with the establishment of a GZI factory in South Africa.

Presently, GZI holds a 20% market share in the South African market, engaging in competition with the financially challenged Nampak Ltd., which is in the process of selling assets and restructuring debt.

Affirma Capital’s initial investment in GZI dates back to 2012.

GZ Industries holds significant production capacity, churning out 3 billion aluminium cans annually in Africa. Out of its production figure, 1,800,000,000 of those cans are produced in Nigeria.