ESO and Kingsley invest in growing European halal market

ESO and Kingsley Capital are betting on a rise in Europe's Muslim population with their £20.5m investment in halal meat distributor Janan.

European investment firms European Special Opportunities Capital (ESO Capital) and Kingsley Capital Partners have provided £20.5 million ($29.96 million; €26.57 million) in financing to Janan Meat, a UK-based halal lamb and mutton distributor, to expand its European operations.

The investment was mainly in secured debt, which the company will use to reach UK and European supermarket chains.

“This investment reflects our positive view on the increasing demand in halal lamb and mutton among UK and European consumers,” said Kingsley Capital partner Sina Azeri in a statement.

A March report from BMI Research predicted strong growth in the European market for halal goods, as the continent’s Muslim population is expected to grow.

“Janan dominates the traditional sales channels for halal meat whilst rapidly growing its new retail sales channel,” said Azeri, adding the company wanted to Europe’s prime halal meat house brand.

ESO managing director Natlia Nowak said Janan’s well-established UK position would support accelerated growth through chain stores.

BMI’s report found British, French and German markets are primed for the strongest growth in halal goods and services, including food. The Pew Research Center estimates Muslims will make up between 9 percent and 10 percent of those countries by 2040.

ESO Capital was founded in 2006 in London and has a branch in Zurich. It held a first close on its €44.2 million Fund VI in December last year, according to PEI Research & Analytics. The firm targets investments in distressed assets and small- and medium-sized enterprises facing “liquidity challenges”.

London-based Kingsley Capital Partners targets buyouts and growth equity investments in the industrial, retail, healthcare, hospitality, technology, media and telecom sectors.