Americana profits up despite poor Q4 as CVC pulls out of sale talks

By Eliot Beer

- Last updated on GMT

Rumours that Americana may be up for sale first emerged nearly a year ago - could it be nearing a deal?
Rumours that Americana may be up for sale first emerged nearly a year ago - could it be nearing a deal?
Americana made a profit of US$175m in 2014, despite a sharp fall in Q4 income, while one of its potential buyers is reported to have dropped out of the race.

The Kuwaiti food giant’s full-year profits were up just 2.8% on 2013, not helped by a 28% fall in profits for its final quarter of the year, compared to a 33% increase in its Q3 profits​. This result marks the only decline in quarterly profits for Americana this year, having seen increases of 10.4% and 8.7% in Q1 and Q2 respectively.

The firm declared a profit of US$34.3m in its fourth quarter, down from US$37.5m in the quarter before, and US$47.9m for the same period in 2013. Overall for the year, the firm reported a turnover of US$3.1bn, up 6.4% year-on-year.

Kharafis keep talking

Meanwhile, in the ongoing saga that is the Americana acquisition race, possible buyer CVC Capital Partners has pulled out of its joint bid with KKR & Co, according to Bloomberg. The news outlet also reported Savola had withdrawn from the running and was no longer in active discussions with Americana’s owners.

KKR is planning to stay in the running with a solo bid, and may sign a deal to acquire Americana as early as next month, Bloomberg’s sources suggest. But they also note there is no formal agreement as yet, and talks could collapse at any time.

Still for sale

In January the acquisition talks were reported to be close to collapse​, as potential buyers apparently failed to see eye-to-eye with the firm’s majority owners, the Al Kharafi family, which holds around two thirds of Americana shares. An Al Kharafi holding company, Al Khair National for Stocks and Real Estate Co, issued a statement saying discussions were still in progress with “several parties”.

If a deal does come in April, it will mark a full year since rumours first surfaced that Americana may be up for sale, when the Al Kharafis reportedly appointed investment bank Rothschild to oversee the sale of the food producer and international franchise holder. At the time, Americana was suggested to be worth up to US$5bn, compared to a current stock market valuation of under US$4bn.

Americana sells frozen, canned and dried food under its eponymous brand, California Garden and Farm Frites. It also owns a clutch of major international restaurant franchises including KFC, Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays.

Related topics: Middle East

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