UAE food giant said to eye $1.5bn stake sale deal

Sources say National Food Products Company has mandated bank to arrange the sale
UAE food giant said to eye $1.5bn stake sale deal
By Reuters
Wed 21 Oct 2015 05:48 PM

National Food Products Company (NFPC), one of the largest food and dairy manufacturers and distributors in the United Arab Emirates, is targeting $1.5 billion from the possible sale of a majority stake, sources aware of the matter told Reuters.

The company, which markets brands including Milco, Lacnor and Oasis bottled water and also has a joint venture with Danish dairy giant Arla Foods, was set up by Lebanese-born businessman Fady Antonios and the local Bin Hamoodah group.

Emirates Investment Bank has been mandated to arrange the sale, according to four sources aware of the matter, which could see the founding shareholders divest as much as 51 percent of the company, according to two of the sources.

Antonios, who serves as president and chief executive of NFPC, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

The transaction is the latest example of sale activity in the Gulf food sector, with investors drawn by the region's predominantly young and increasingly wealthy population.

For sellers, there are a number of motivations, including bringing in financial experts to help expand, raising cash for other investments and succession planning among older businessmen as they look to retire.

So far this year, stakes in Saudi fast food chain Kudu and gourmet date brand Bateel have been divested to private equity investors, while Saudi supermarket chain Al Raya has attracted interest from Abraaj and Apollo among others for its sale process.

NFPC exports products to 48 countries around the world, according to the company's promotional material.

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