Private equity firm Abraaj Group has acquired a stake in Moroccan chocolate company Kool Food and plans to expand distribution in the Middle East and Africa.
Casablanca-based Kool Food was established in 2010 and produces compound chocolate brands such as Dopingo and Chocool as well as chocolate spreads and powdered drinks.
The Abraaj Group said that Kool Food was one of few manufacturers in the region targeting the fast-growing mass consumption market with affordable products.
It said that it planned to grow Kool Food’s product portfolio and use its networks in the Middle East & North Africa to improve international distribution and consolidate the firm’s position in Morocco.
“Kool Food is well-positioned in the Middle East and North Africa region as a successful local producer of quality chocolate confectionery products affordable to the region’s burgeoning consumer classes,” said Tarek Kabil, partner at The Abraaj Group.
“By building out Kool Food’s current product offering with attractive new products and extending its pan-regional distribution, Abraaj will catalyze the company’s growth into one of the leading chocolate confectionery players in the region,” he continued.
MENA and Morocco
In Middle East & Africa, Mars is the market leader followed by Aiguebelle, Ferrero and Nestlé, according to Euromonitor International.
The Moroccan chocolate market was worth $254.9m in retail value sales in 2013 and is projected to grow 7.2% this year.
The market is led by Mars, which holds a 23.7% share, followed by local firm Aiguebelle. Mondelēz International and Lindt also have a small market share, but Euromonitor’s data does not identify Kool Food as among the top brand owners.
Kool Food already exports to some countries in the Maghreb region including Tunisia and Algeria.
Abraaj’s other investments in food companies include Tunisian bakery leader Moulin d’Or, East African dairy firm Brookside and West African dairy business Fan Milk. The Kool Food investment marks the third time the Abraaj Group has invested in Morocco since 2012.