Bid to sell top food firm fails

Updated 29 May 2016
0

Bid to sell top food firm fails

KUWAIT CITY: A bid by a group of Gulf investors to purchase a majority stake of Kuwait’s top food company and a regional leader, Americana, has failed, an official statement said.
“No final agreement has been reached,” said Al-Khair National for Stocks and Real Estate, which manages billions of dollars of stocks held by the Kharafi family, which wanted to sell its 69-percent stake in Americana.
“The two sides have agreed to end negotiations of the planned sale,” Al-Khair said in a statement sent to the Kuwait Stock Exchange.
The consortium carried out a due diligence investigation before making an offer that was never disclosed.
It was the Kharafi family’s second failed attempt to sell Americana after Saudi-based food company Savola reportedly offered around $4 billion to acquire the firm last year. That offer was rejected.
Established in 1964, Americana, or Kuwait Food Company, is the parent group that brought to the Middle East more than a dozen major food brands like KFC, Costa Coffee and TGI Friday’s.
It owns more than 1,690 outlets and employs 63,000 workers in the Middle East and North Africa region. It also has 17 factories in the region and abroad and produces a variety of food products.


Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

Updated 15 February 2019
0

Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

  • Saudi Arabia and UAE initiatives ‘driving forward industrial defense capabilities’
  • Budgets are increasing as countries pursue modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities

LONDON: Defense spending by Gulf Arab states is expected to rise to more than $110 billion by 2023, driven partly by localized military initiatives by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, a report has found.

Budgets are increasing as countries pursue the modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities, according to a report by analytics firm Jane’s by IHS Markit.

Military expenditure in the Gulf will increase from $82.33 billion in 2013 to an estimated $103.01 billion in 2019, and is forecast to continue trending upward to $110.86 billion in 2023.

“Falling energy revenues between 2014 and 2016 led to some major procurement projects being delayed as governments reigned in budget deficits,” said Charles Forrester, senior defense industry analyst at Jane’s.

“However, defense was generally protected from the worst of the spending cuts due to regional security concerns and budgets are now growing again.”

Major deals in the region have included Eurofighter Typhoon purchases by countries including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia is also looking to “localize” 50 percent of total government military spending in the Kingdom by 2030, and in 2017 announced the launch of the state-owned military industrial company Saudi Arabia Military Industries.

Forrester said such moves will boost the ability for Gulf countries to start exporting, rather than purely importing defense equipment.

“Within the defense sector, the establishment of Saudi Arabia Military Industries (SAMI) in 2017 and consolidation of the UAE’s defense industrial base through the creation of Emirates Defense Industries Company (EDIC) in 2014 have helped consolidate and drive forward industrial defense capabilities,” he said.

“This has happened as the countries focus on improving the quality of the defense technological work packages they undertake through offset, as well as increasing their ability to begin exporting defense equipment.”

Regional countries are also considering the use of “disruptive technologies” such as artificial intelligence in defense, Forrester said.

Meanwhile, it emerged on Friday that worldwide outlays on weapons and defense rose 1.8 percent to more than $1.67 trillion in 2018.

The US was responsible for almost half that increase, according to “The Military Balance” report released at the Munich Security Conference and quoted by Reuters.

Western powers were concerned about Russia’s upgrades of air bases and air defense systems in Crimea, the report said, but added that “China perhaps represents even more of a challenge, as it introduces yet more advanced military systems and is engaged in a strategy to improve its forces’ ability to operate at distance from the homeland.”