Global investment firm KKR has invested in Gambol Pet Group, a pet food provider headquartered in Shandong Province, China.
Gambol and KKR are partnering to expand Gambol’s production capacity in key markets including China, Thailand, countries in Europe, and the US, where it is currently the largest private-label provider of pet treats to Walmart. Gambol further aims to leverage KKR's experience in food production and in implementing practices in the area of food safety and security.
Gambol is a major pet food exporter in China, supplying products to a broad customer base in Europe, Asia and North America. In its local market, the Company's "Myfoodie" pet food brand holds the #1 ranking in China's pet treat category and is a leader in the dry food category, according to China Feed Industry Association.
"Gambol is well-positioned to capture new opportunities in the pet food sector globally and in China given Gambol's extensive industry expertise, product innovation capabilities and long-term commitment to producing safe, high-quality pet food,” said Chris Sun, director at KKR China. “We look forward to working alongside this experienced and capable management team to build a true industry leader in the emerging pet market."
KKR makes its investment from its China Growth Fund.
Investing in the Chinese pet food market
The pet category is one of the fastest-growing consumer sectors in China with a compound annual growth rate of over 30 percent in the past few years, according to the data from Goumin.com. However, the market is still fragmented and under-developed, posing opportunities for players like Gambol with differentiation in technology and product quality.
In addition, China's pet food sector is still at a nascent stage compared to other markets. According to Stratop Group, only 13 percent of Chinese urban households have pet dogs. Meanwhile, more than 36 percent of American households own dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. In China, packaged pet food penetration is only 14 percent, compared to more than 90 percent in the US.