DUBAI: The franchisee of KFC and Pizza Hut fast food restaurants in the Middle East and North Africa has hired investment bank Rothschild & Co. to advise it on a potential initial public offering (IPO), two sources say at Reuters.
Americana Group, which is considering a public sale of shares in the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia, is expected to invite banks to pitch other leading roles in the deal in the coming weeks, the sources said, declining to comment. be named because the case is not public.
Americana is owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and an investment consortium led by Dubai businessman Mohammed Alabbar, founder of Dubai-listed Emaar Properties.
Americana and Alabbar did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Reuters on Wednesday. Rothschild declined to comment.
Shareholders could also consider a dual listing for the company, the sources said.
Americana was acquired by Alabbar’s vehicle, Adeptio, in 2016. The Saudi Public Investment Fund bought a 50% stake in Adeptio later that year.
The company was valued at $3.5 billion in 2017 when it was delisted from the Kuwait Stock Exchange.
The Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange and the Tadawul Stock Exchange of Saudi Arabia signed an agreement in 2019 to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the dual listing of securities in the Saudi and UAE financial markets.
Americana was founded in Kuwait in 1964 and operates 1,800 restaurants in the region, according to information on its website. It operates the franchises of KFC, Pizza Hut, Hardee’s and Krispy Creme, among others.
Gulf issuers have raised $3.5 billion so far this year from IPOs, Refinitiv data shows, outpacing European IPOs even as global markets remain volatile in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Gulf markets are highly correlated to oil prices, where Brent is trading above $100 a barrel.
Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul stock index is up 17% year-to-date, while Abu Dhabi’s main benchmark is up more than 18% and Dubai’s is up more than 9%. %.