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Africa’s Indian Retail King Plans To Open 40 New Supermarkets

Choppies Enterprises, a budget retailer founded by Motswana multi-millionaire Ramachandran Ottapathu, plans to open 40 additional stores across Africa by mid-2018.

In a conversation with Reuters, Ottapathu said his company, which already has a presence in 7 African countries, will spend about $30 million in its expansion drive. Choppies aims to establish a presence in Namibia before December and will build on its existing outlets in South Africa, Kenya, Zambia and Tanzania.

“We will enter Namibia for the first time before the year ends,” Ottapathu said on Monday, while also revealing that Choppies is now profitable in South Africa after making losses for the past few years.

Ramachandran Ottapathu, 52, co-founded Choppies in 1986 as a single supermarket in Lobatse, a small town in South-Eastern Botswana.

He has since built the company into a retail powerhouse with more than 217 stores in Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Choppies has been expanding aggressively in the last two years. In March last year, it acquired 21 retail stores in South Africa from Jwayelani Retail and subsequently in November acquired 3 outlets in Kenya from struggling retail chain Ukwala Supermarkets.

Ottapathu owns a 19.5% stake in Choppies which is valued at more than $60 million


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