Saudi fast-food franchise operator Alamar Foods considers IPO: Reuters

Saudi fast-food franchise operator Alamar Foods considers IPO: Reuters
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Updated 18 October 2021

Saudi fast-food franchise operator Alamar Foods considers IPO: Reuters

Saudi fast-food franchise operator Alamar Foods considers IPO: Reuters
  • Alamar is the master operator for the U.S. pizza chain, with 455 stores in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan

Saudi fast-food franchise operator Alamar Foods considers IPO, sources say

DUBAI, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's Alamar Foods, the regional franchise operator for Domino's Pizza, is considering an initial public offering (IPO) that would allow The Carlyle Group sell some of its stake, three sources familiar with the matter said.

Alamar Foods has hired HSBC to arrange the share sale, the sources told Reuters. They said deliberations were at an early stage and no final decision had been made.


Alamar Foods did not immediately respond to a request for comment. HSBC declined to comment. Carlyle, which has $276 billion in assets under management and holds 42 percent of Alamar, did not respond to a request for comment.

Alamar is the master operator for the U.S. pizza chain, with 455 stores in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan. It also has the franchise rights for U.S. chain Dunkin' Donuts in North Africa.

Carlyle invested in Alamar in 2011, acquiring a 42 percent stake for an undisclosed amount from the AlJammaz family.

The sources said Carlyle would use the IPO to stage a partial exit, with one source saying it planned to sell about 30 percent. AlJammaz family aimed to retain their majority ownership, the sources said.

Private equity firms generally seek to exit their investments five to seven years after buying in.

Saudi Arabia's food and beverage industry is the largest in the Middle East, consultancy JLL said in a report last year.

The Saudi Arabian General Authority for Investment (SAGIA) estimated that spending on food service would grow by 6 percent a year over the next five years.

Saudi Arabia's stock market, whose shares have climbed more than 35 percent this year, is expected to have several new listings in the next 12 months, including the stock exchange owner Tadawul and the specialty chemicals business of Saudi Basic Industries Corp.

Saudi Arabia's Capital Markets Authority said in September about 45 companies were waiting for listing approval.


Papa John's to open more than 100 new restaurants in Saudi Arabia over the next five years

Papa John's to open more than 100 new restaurants in Saudi Arabia over the next five years
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 21 sec ago

Papa John's to open more than 100 new restaurants in Saudi Arabia over the next five years

Papa John's to open more than 100 new restaurants in Saudi Arabia over the next five years
  • Saudi Arabia's food and beverage market has grown since the launch of Vision 2030

CAIRO: PJP Investment Group has announced its partnership with Papa John’s to open more than 100 new restaurants in Saudi Arabia over the next five years, according to a statement. 

PJP, which specializes in food and beverages and is wholly owned by Levant Capital, opened the first four new outlets in Riyadh on Tuesday, October 26 in Sulaimaniyah, Al-Nouzha, Al-Malqa and Qurtubah.

"Our plan is to open more than 100 restaurants in the next 10 years." said Tapan Vaidya, CEO of PJP Investment Group.  

Saudi Arabia's food and beverage market has grown since the launch of Vision 2030, making it the leading market for quick-service restaurants and giving them the opportunity to grow their global presence by opening new branches in the Kingdom. 

 "It's an amazing opportunity to develop the Papa John's brand in Saudi Arabia and contribute to the Kingdom's Vision 2030." Vaidya also said


China’s largest crypto exchange chooses Singapore as Asian base

China’s largest crypto exchange chooses Singapore as Asian base
Updated 20 min 48 sec ago

China’s largest crypto exchange chooses Singapore as Asian base

China’s largest crypto exchange chooses Singapore as Asian base

RIYADH: Huobi Group, the operator of China’s largest crypto exchange, has chosen Singapore as its regional headquarters while deciding on another location in Europe.

Singapore has become the new base for the company after it recently shifted its focus outside its home city of Beijing, co-founder Du Jun told Bloomberg News.

The company plans to set up another regional headquarters in France or the UK in 2023, Jun added.

Huobi, which was founded in China in 2013, said it will offload all Chinese users by the end of this year.

Southeast Asia is an attractive market where the number of trading users quadrupled over the past month, Jun said.


Jordan to begin oil exploration in two areas in February, energy minister says

Jordan to begin oil exploration in two areas in February, energy minister says
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 30 November 2021

Jordan to begin oil exploration in two areas in February, energy minister says

Jordan to begin oil exploration in two areas in February, energy minister says

Jordan will begin oil exploration in two areas, Al-Jafr and Al-Sarhan, in February, the country's energy minister Saleh Al-Kharabsheh said on Tuesday, as reported by Jordan state television.


A detailed study is currently underway to consider drilling three medium-depth wells at the Al-Jafr site, the minister added, which will be conducted in cooperation with Jordan's National Petroleum Company.


Vingroup tapping global investors for car unit’s $1bn funding: sources

Vingroup tapping global investors for car unit’s $1bn funding: sources
VinFast a member company of Vingroup. Image: Shutterstock
Updated 30 November 2021

Vingroup tapping global investors for car unit’s $1bn funding: sources

Vingroup tapping global investors for car unit’s $1bn funding: sources
  • If successful, it is likely to end up as Vietnam’s largest private fundraising

Vietnam’s largest conglomerate Vingroup is in talks with investors, including Qatar’s sovereign fund and BlackRock, to raise about $1 billion in equity for its car unit, three sources aware of the matter said.


The fundraising exercise comes as VinFast, Vingroup’s automobile arm, is betting big on the US market, where it hopes that its electric SUVs and a battery leasing model will be enough to woo consumers away from the likes of Tesla and General Motors.


If successful, it is likely to end up as Vietnam’s largest private fundraising, underscoring heightened investor interest in Southeast Asia, a region where ride-hailing and delivery giants Grab and GoTo have raised billions of dollars.


The fundraising move also shows electric vehicle projects remain a major draw for investors.


“Electric vehicles are the topic of the year and there’s huge investor interest,” said one of the sources.


Vingroup is in discussions for the fundraising ahead of VinFast’s potential US listing that could take place as early as next year, said the sources, who declined to be identified as negotiations are still ongoing.


They said the company could finalize the private fundraising deal as early as next month. Vingroup is also in talks with global private equity firms.


The sources said Vingroup is in advanced talks with Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund, which has been diversifying its investments from its core European and US markets toward Asia.


BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager.


Vingroup declined to comment while there was no response from QIA. BlackRock did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


VinFast plans a US listing within the next couple of years, its chief executive told Reuters earlier this month, aiming to join a growing list of electric vehicle startups that have taken advantage of investor enthusiasm and raised money.


Two sources told Reuters that VinFast was sticking to a previous plan of either listing via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) or making a standalone listing.


VinFast, established in 2017 as part of Vingroup, plans to start producing electric cars in the United States in the second half of 2024. It unveiled two electric sport utility vehicles, VF e35 and VF e36, at the Los Angeles Auto Show this month. 


Emirates airline could float on Dubai stock market: Company president

Emirates airline could float on Dubai stock market: Company president
Updated 30 November 2021

Emirates airline could float on Dubai stock market: Company president

Emirates airline could float on Dubai stock market: Company president
  • The airline posted a loss of 5.8 billion dirham from April to September, down from a 12.6 billion dirham loss for the same period last year.

DUBAI: The Dubai government is considering an initial public offering of Emirates airline, the flagship carrier’s President Tim Clark said on Monday, as authorities work to boost activity on the local stock market.

The emirate’s government is planning to list 10 state-backed companies on its stock exchange and set up a 2 billion dirham ($545 million) market maker fund to encourage trading activity.

“Yes, there has been talk about it. Yes, there has been, perhaps a little bit more flesh on the whole subject than there has been in the past,” Clark said in an interview for the upcoming Reuters Next conference when asked if a listing was a possibility.

“I’m waiting instructions as to how this is going to affect the Emirates Group. What the government of Dubai decides to do...is up to them, I would basically do as I am bid.”

Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum said earlier this month that it was possible to list the carrier or its subsidiaries.

Governments have pumped billions of dollars into airlines during the coronavirus pandemic and state-owned Emirates has received around $3.8 billion in equity injections from Dubai, including $2 billion disclosed last year.

The airline posted a loss of 5.8 billion dirham from April to September, down from a 12.6 billion dirham loss for the same period last year.

However, Clark said he does not expect further government support over the next year so long as the new variant of the coronavirus does not cause too much disruption.

“We are restoring our cash position at pace. So it is unlikely, notwithstanding the omicron variant and its effects... if it’s not as bad as people think it may be, then we see no further recourse to the owner putting equity into the business.

Clark said that although Emirates would still suffer a loss this year, it would be considerably smaller than in the preceding 12 months. For 2022, he expected the airline to break even or make a profit.

“I am very pleased to say we have returned to profitability already, over the last six, seven weeks, we’ve been profitable,” he said.