Americana is a prominent brand in the region

Americana is a prominent brand in the region

Americana ‘unaware’ of Savola plan

01 September 2014

KUWAIT Food Company (Americana) has said it has no knowledge of any talks with Saudi Arabia’s Savola Group on a possible acquisition of Americana, reports Reuters.

“The board and executive administration deny knowledge of any negotiations with Savola regarding an acquisition of Americana,” the Kuwaiti company said in a statement to its stock exchange.

A recent meeting between the two companies was intended only to discuss the possibility of joint cooperation in certain fields and markets; the meeting did not result in any development requiring disclosure, Americana said.

Savola said earlier that it had begun preliminary talks on a potential acquisition of Americana. It said it had attended an investor roadshow held by Americana’s management, but talks had not yet reached a stage that would require disclosure.

The news agency reported in April that the Al Kharafi family, the billionaire majority shareholder in Americana at 66.8 per cent, had hired investment bank Rothschild to explore a possible sale of the business.

With a $4.4 billion market capitalisation, Americana is a franchise operator of restaurants including KFC and Pizza Hut, owned by Yum Brands, and Red Lobster and Olive Garden, owned by Darden Restaurants. It also processes and markets frozen vegetables.

The company, which says it has over 63,000 employees and operates in 13 countries, posted sales of $3.1 billion in 2013 and a net profit of $179 million.

In addition to Savola, the potential sale of Americana is believed to have drawn interest from major US private equity firms, though it is not known whether any have put together concrete bids.

Savola Group, with a stock market value of $11.8 billion, reported an estimate-beating 32 per cent jump in second-quarter net profit. Its 2013 sales totalled $7 billion.

More Stories