Taste acquires luxury Swiss watch retailer


[DATA TAS:Taste Holdings LTD.], the South African based management group which specialises in the food and jewellery markets, said it entered into a sale of shares agreement to acquire the entire issued share capital of AKJ Holdings Proprietary Limited from the Crown Jewel Trust and the Kenilworth Park Trust.

(READ MORE: S.Africa’s Taste Holdings to raise rights offer )

“Arthur Kaplan’s affluent aspirational target market is complementary to Taste’s view that, to compete in the upper income consumer market, it should be done with the best brands in their categories,” said Taste in a statement.


AKJ, which was started as a family business over 40 years ago, currently operates ten Arthur Kaplan branded outlets and one World’s Finest Watches store and stocks premium luxury watch brands such as Rolex, Tag Heuer and Longines.

Taste Holdings currently manages over 25 watch brands in its existing business and retails these in over 77 locations in Southern Africa. The group said that it intends to expand the AKJ brand even further.

“Arthur Kaplan’s jewellery offering, while not its current dominant revenue category, represents about 40 per cent of the revenue in its stores. The range of jewellery is aligned with Taste’s current manufacturing capability and Taste believes there is upside potential to grow Arthur Kaplan’s jewellery offering and its revenue contribution,”

“There is scope for growth in store numbers within the South African market as well as scope to satisfy demand for luxury Swiss watches in sub-equatorial Africa. This market is currently underserved by dedicated retail offerings and this African focus and opportunity is aligned with that of the broader Taste group.”

(READ MORE: Taste Holdings delves aggressively into 5-year growth plan)

For the year ended 30 June 2014, AKJ posted revenue of 224.3 million rand and EBITDA of 18.1 million rand. Taste expects that the acquisition will be earnings enhancing from the first period of consolidation.  

Also, Dean Divaris, managing director of Arthur Kaplan for the last 14 years and a member of one of the family trusts, will remain in his position. The group said that he will continue to drive the business expansion in line with a shared growth plan developed by Taste and AKJ.