Americana sale back on, NFPC sale off

By Eliot Beer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: United arab emirates

Americana sale back on, NFPC sale off
The sale of Americana finally went ahead this month, with Adeptio paying US$2.4bn, while NFPC abandoned its sale attempt, with potential buyers’ scepticism over expansion plans blamed. 

Adeptio, led by Mohamed Alabbar, head of UAE construction giant Emaar, abandoned its original plan​ to buy Kuwait Food Company – commonly known as Americana – last month. Although the firms had announced a deal, inside sources told Reuters they couldn’t agree on mutually acceptable terms. 

Adeptio boosts purchase price

The new US$2.4bn sum Adeptio will pay for the Al-Kharafi family’s 69% stake in Americana is significantly higher than the US$1.7bn it originally offered. Under Kuwait law, Adeptio must now offer to buy all Americana shares on the stock market at the same price it will pay the Kharafis.

Adeptio was reported to have approached a consortium of Middle Eastern banks to secure a US$1.65bn loan to support its purchase. 

Provided the deal completes, this will mark the end to a long, dramatic sales process, which has been near to collapse several times, seen rumours flying, had bidders make and break alliances, and been compared to a dead chicken​. The Financial Times reported that regional banks were relieved at the prospect of the end of the Americana saga.

Americana is one of the region’s largest food producers, and is also the regional franchise holder for brands including KFC, Pizza Hut and TGI Friday’s.

NFPC buyers question expansion plans

In the UAE, National Food Products Company (NFPC) has abandoned its attempt to sell off a stake of itself, according to Bloomberg. Saudi Arabia’s Almarai revealed a bid for NFPC worth US$1.5bn back in April, but since then neither firm had made an announcement on progress.

Bloomberg cited anonymous sources with knowledge of the deal as saying bidders for NFPC had questioned the value of its planned expansion projects. NFPC broke ground on the first phase of its new US$408m “mega facility” in Abu Dhabi’s Kizad free zone​ earlier this year, with its water businesses the first to make use of the 752,000m2 space the manufacturer has leased.

Bloomberg’s sources said NFPC would proceed with its plans, and may revive the sales process in 2018.

While Almarai was the only firm to put in a formal bid for NFPC, the potential sale had attracted interest from KKR, Blackstone Group and Fajr Capital, some of which had also been involved in bids to buy Americana. 

NFPC is a major producer of dairy and beverage products in the UAE, with brands including Milco, Lacnor, Oasis, and a joint venture with Danish dairy producer Arla. 

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