Middle East KFC operator starts early talks over listing
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Middle East KFC operator starts early talks over listing

Middle East KFC operator starts early talks over listing

Discussions are ongoing, but no advisers have been hired

KFC Operator

The operator of KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants across the Middle East and North Africa is in preliminary discussions for a potential listing, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Americana Group, owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and an investment vehicle led by Dubai-based businessman Mohamed Alabbar, has held early stage talks with advisers over a listing in the UAE or Saudi Arabia, the people said.

Discussions are ongoing, but no advisers have been hired and there is no certainty the IPO will materialise, they said, asking not to be identified as the information is not public.

The firm could also opt for a rare dual listing in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the people said. Saudi Arabia’s bourse has been seeking to encourage firms to dual list for years and while none have yet done so, Bahrain’s biggest telecommunications firm is considering one.

An initial public offering of Americana could raise about $1bn, one of the people said, but details on latest valuation weren’t immediately available. The firm was valued at about $3.5bn when it was taken private in 2017.

The PIF declined to comment, and Americana wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Americana operates restaurants for brands including Baskin Robbins, Costa Coffee and TGI Fridays as well as KFC and Pizza Hut, according to its website.

Alabbar’s Adeptio AD Investments SPC Ltd. bought the firm in 2016. The PIF took a 50 per cent stake in Adeptio at the end of that year and Americana subsequently delisted from the Kuwait stock exchange.

If Americana decides to proceed with a listing, it will come amid a boom for IPOs in the Middle East. Russia-Ukraine crisis has roiled equity markets around the world, but bourses in the energy-rich Gulf have largely emerged unscathed.

Saudi Arabia – the largest Gulf IPO market – has seen 11 listings this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s just short of the 14 share sales in the kingdom for all of 2021.

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