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Fri 12 Jun 2015 09:12 AM

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Dubai's Audacia buys stake in Al Safadi restaurant chain

Investment bank says it has acquired 30% interest in Lebanese restaurant brand; plans to expand in UAE, Saudi Arabia

Dubai's Audacia buys stake in Al Safadi restaurant chain

Dubai-based investment bank Audacia Capital on Sunday announced it has acquired a 30 percent stake in Al Safadi, a popular chain of casual dining restaurants specialising in traditional Lebanese food.

The company said in a statement that it has ambitious plans to further expand the restaurant brand in the UAE and across the GCC region. It did not disclose financial details for the deal.

It said the food and beverage sector in the region has witnessed one of the fastest growth rates over the last few years and is projected to continue this growth driven by rising population and higher consumer spending.

Changing consumer habits, a young population and growing tourism has fuelled the food service and retail segment in the GCC to experience a double-digit growth rates, it added.

Al Safadi brand started in 1994 in Beirut and during the year 2000 decided to develop a casual dining concept in Dubai.

Al Safadi Restaurants has grown to include two restaurants and one café in Dubai in addition to a restaurant in Erbil, Kurdistan Iraq, which opened for business in October 2013.

Over the next three years, Audacia Capital plans to open further restaurants in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and to venture into Saudi Arabia.

Emad Mansour, founder and CEO, Audacia Capital said: "The acquisition of Al Safadi marks our first investment in the burgeoning food and beverage sector. Rapid urbanization, increase of a multicultural young population and rising incomes have led to a change in consumer consumption habits.

"Eating out has become a major attraction and food service outlets have become preferred destinations for business meetings and family gathering. As the MENA economies continue to boom there is a significant opportunity in the food service segment for further growth and innovation. Our aim is to drive the growth of Al Safadi and expand its geographical footprint."

Fadi Al-Safadi, CEO of Al Safadi Restaurants Company, added: "Our partnership with Audacia Capital comes at an opportune time as the foodservice sector in the MENA region, and specifically in UAE, is undergoing unprecedented growth. We have an ambitious growth strategy and are confident that in cooperation with Audacia Capital we will be able to successfully expand into the region and reinforce the Al Safadi brand."

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