The Abraaj Group was selected as a finalist in the EMPEA Institute’s 2016 Sustainability & Operational Excellence Challenge for its active management of Koba, a hard discount retailer in Colombia.
Koba, the first hard discount retailer in Colombia, offers high quality food and basic staples at prices that can be up to 50% cheaper than those offered by traditional retailers. Considering that low- and middle-income families typically spend a large portion of their money on such goods, these savings have had
a material impact on their daily lives. With over 500 stores in operation to date—up from around 20 at the time of investment—Koba now serves over 10 million clients (tickets) per month.
At the time of Abraaj’s investment, Koba had 184 employees; as of August 2016, the company had created over 5,400 formal jobs, of which 49% have been filled by women. Koba has also helped generate thousands of indirect jobs through suppliers that have grown along with the company.
Company employees are paid above average salaries and receive all legal benefits in Colombia. Furthermore, Koba has implemented well established growth plans
and training programs that can effectively help entry-level store clerks advance to the highest positions in the company.
Fund Manager: The Abraaj Group, a private equity firm focused on global growth markets
Company: Koba International Group S.A. / Koba Colombia S.A.S
Sector: Food retailer and wholesaler
Business Focus: Supermarket Chain
Size: US$419.8 million in revenue (FY 2015)
Dates of Investment: December 2010, May 2011, February 2013, December 2013 and May 2014
Investment: Abraaj exited its stake in Koba in September 2016 through a sale to a private equity group