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South African billionaire family takes over Top Nigerian Can Maker 

South Africa’s second richest family, the Oppenhiemers have acquired controlling stakes in one of Nigeria’s prominent can makers, GZ. 

Jonathan Oppenheimer, son of South Africa’s second richest man, Nicky Oppenheimer, strategically secured full control of GZ Industries Ltd., Nigeria’s prominent beverage can manufacturer, signalling a bet on the potential revitalization of Africa’s largest economy.  

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

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. 

What this means 

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. 

What you should know 

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu recently outlined ambitious 2024 spending plans amounting to N27.5 trillion naira ($34 billion), aimed at achieving job-rich economic growth, macroeconomic stability, and fostering a more favourable investment environment.

This aligns with the broader economic landscape in which Oppenheimer is positioning GZI. 

The Oppenheimer family’s financial standing, with a combined net worth of $9.4 billion, primarily stems from the 2012 sale of their stake in De Beers for approximately $5 billion, as indicated by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

This latest move reflects the family’s strategic positioning to capitalize on emerging opportunities within Africa’s dynamic economic landscape, emphasizing a commitment to shaping industries that align with the continent’s growth potential. 


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