The Middle East and North Africa franchisee of fast-food restaurants KFC and Pizza Hut has hired investment bank Rothschild & Co to advise on a potential initial public offering (IPO), two sources told Reuters.
Americana Group, which is considering a public share sale in the United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia, is expected to invite banks to pitch for other top roles in the transaction in coming weeks, said the sources, declining to be named as the matter 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.
The shareholders may also consider a dual listing for the company, the sources said.
Americana was acquired by Alabbar’s vehicle Adeptio in 2016. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund bought a 50 percent stake in Adeptio later that year.
The company was valued at $3.5 billion in 2017 when it delisted from the Kuwait stock exchange.
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul bourse in 2019 signed an agreement to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the dual listing of securities in the Saudi and United Arab Emirates financial markets.
Americana was founded in Kuwait in 1964 and operates 1,800 restaurants across the region, according to information on its website. It operates the franchises for KFC, Pizza Hut, Hardee’s, and Krispy Creme, among many others.
Gulf issuers have raised $3.5 billion so far this year from IPOs, according to data from Refinitiv, exceeding European flotations even as global markets remain volatile in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Gulf markets are highly correlated to oil prices, where Brent crude is trading above $100 a barrel.
Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul equity index is up 17 percent so far this year, while Abu Dhabi’s main benchmark is up more than 18 percent and Dubai is up over 9 percent.