Dubai: Abraaj Group, the emerging markets investment firm, said on Wednesday it has taken a majority stake in Liberty Star Consumer Holdings (Libstar), a South African food and personal care product manufacturer.

The Dubai-headquartered group said in a statement it bought shares in unlisted Libstar from its existing shareholders including Metier, Old Mutual Private Equity, Development Partners International and Lereko. Abraaj did not disclose the size of the investment.

Libstar operates through 23 business units in five South African provinces, employing around 4,200 people in manufacturing, supply and distribution capabilities.

Abraaj, which manages around $7.5 billion (Dh27.5 billion) in assets, said it will continue with financial and operation support to Libstar’s South African, Sub-Sahara Africa and pan-African growth.

“The acquisition of Libstar represents another exciting African investment partnership for us … We look forward to adding our deep experience in helping accelerate the growth of our numerous Fast-moving consumer goods and food businesses, not only across Africa but from our other growth markets as well,” stated Davinder Sikand, Partner and Head of Sub-Saharan Africa for The Abraaj Group.

Wednesday’s statement said the deal represents an attractive investment opportunity for Abraaj. The $56 billion South African grocery retail market and $14 billion food services market are estimated to grow at 7 per cent and 9.5 per cent, respectively, per year to 2018, according to the statement.

“The market opportunity for food and other consumer staples in Africa promises huge potential for growth, driven by rapidly changing trends in consumer tastes and demand,” stated Sandeep Khanna, Managing Director of The Abraaj Group.