Al Watania seeks adviser for listing

The poultry giant is tapping into the rapidly expanding regional food market and a listing could help plans to expand capacity and meet the potential for growth

May 2015

Saudi Arabia’s Al Watania Poultry, one of the largest producers of chickens in the Middle East, has invited banks to pitch for the financial adviser role on its stock market flotation, three sources aware of the matter have said, reports Reuters.

Bankers will make formal presentations to the company and Al Watania will decide on who will advise it on its Saudi listing by the end of May, according to one of the sources.

Al Watania couldn’t be reached for comment. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as the information isn’t public.

Based in the Qassim region in the centre of the kingdom, Al Watania produces one million eggs and 575,000 chickens per day which are sold in Saudi and six other countries in the region, according to its website.

Its chairman is Sulaiman bin Abdulaziz Al-Rajhi, who helped found Al Rajhi Bank and served as its chairman until November 2014. He continues to be the largest individual shareholder in the Islamic bank, through his endowment fund, with 14.79 per cent, according to bourse data.

Food firms in the kingdom are attracting significant interest from investors, who see the sector as a way to tap into the growing wealth of a predominantly young local population.

Private equity firms TPG Capital and Abraaj have agreed to buy a majority stake in the Kudu fast-food chain, L Capital Asia bought a stake in gourmet date firm Bateel, while Levant Capital and The Rohatyn Group have appointed Moelis to advise them on the sale of a controlling stake in Al Raya Supermarkets.

After a quiet start to 2015 when the kingdom’s market was volatile due to the impact of lower oil prices, listing activity is picking up. Middle East Paper Company and Saudi Company for Tools and Hardware (Saco) are both selling shares to the public.

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