Ivory Coast – Amethis West Africa, a subsidiary of Amethis Finance based in Paris has sold its minority stake in Compagnie de Distribution de Côte d’Ivoire (CDCI) to Groupe Retail Holding, thus becoming the company’s majority shareholder.

CDCI specializes in the commercialization of consumer products, both food and non-food operating under four brands: CDCI Gros, CDCI Demi-gros, King Cash and the Leader Price franchise.

Retail Holding a Moroccan group that holds several modern distribution franchises in Morocco is the distribution arm of the group BEST FINANCIERE, a Group operating in F&B distribution (Label’Vie) and in many other modern distributions through international brands like Kiabi, Gifi, Virgin and Burger King.

Amethis and Retail Holding jointly invested in CDCI in 2014 building a long-term partnership to support the Company’s development in Côte d’Ivoire and in the Sub-region by modernizing and expanding its distribution network.

The financial support provided enabled CDCI to strategically reposition its retail business, rebrand its King Cash brand and renovate its existing stores.

Currently the group has a network of 150 stores becoming the second largest food retailer in Côte d’Ivoire.

This is attributed to its unique positioning, targeting the middle and working classes by leveraging its broad geographical coverage with more than 50% of stores outside Abidjan.

Commenting on the purchase of the stake, Zouhaïr Bennani, President of Retail Holding Group said “Thanks to the partnership with Amethis and Yasser Ezzedine, we were able to start our expansion in sub-Saharan Africa while pursuing our growth in Morocco. We strongly believe in the development potential of modern distribution in Africa.”

CDCI was acquired from Unilever in 2002 by Mr Yasser Ezzedine, an Ivorian and Lebanese entrepreneur, pioneer of the Ivorian food distribution sector.

Yasser Ezzedine, stated that “Amethis will remain a unique, faithful and sincere partner in its approach to supporting entrepreneurs on the continent.”

Khady Kone-Dicoh, Investment Director at Amethis, added: “We are proud to have supported a visionary entrepreneur such as Yasser Ezzedine over the past five years and to have accompanied an Ivorian leader in the food retail sector in this decisive phase of its development. We are also pleased to have contributed to the regional integration of a leading Moroccan player.”