Saudi Arabia's Jadwa buys company behind Allo Beirut with plans to expand outside the UAE

The asset management firm plans up to eight investments in the next two years

Diners are seen at an Allo Beirut restaurant in Dubai. Its parent company Black Spoon Group has been acquired by Saudi Arabia's Jadwa Investment. Photo: Jadwa Investment
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Saudi Arabia's Jadwa Investment has fully acquired Dubai-based food and beverage operator Black Spoon Group, the parent company of restaurant Allo Beirut, with plans to expand the brand outside the UAE.

The investment is Jadwa's second in the consumer space this year after Gissah Perfumes and its 16th overall.

It will allow the Saudi company to grow within the consumer sector at a time when spending continues to rise, and is part of a bigger plan to consolidate the market, its head of private equity and investment banking Elie Elkhoury said.

He declined to divulge the value of the deal but said Jadwa plans to expand Black Spoon's flagship brand, Allo Beirut, with four branches set to open in Riyadh within the next 12 months.

“We want to grow this company beyond the UAE. We have Kuwait on the plan, we already have Qatar, we have India, Australia already signed and we're looking to go to the UK,” Mr Elkhoury told The National.

Overall, Jadwa aims to invest in six to eight companies in the next two years, with a primary focus on GCC consumer sectors, he said.

The move would bring its total GCC investment portfolio to about 24. It is part of the asset management and advisory firm's plans to invest about 2 billion Saudi riyals ($533 million) by 2025.

Jadwa has exited 10 of those portfolio investments, with more planned in the next three to four years.

“The next 10 years is the decade of the GCC consumer. The region has a significant growth in population, not driven by organic growth and population, but by attracting foreigners and expatriates to come because they're going through a massive boom in their economies,” Mr Elkhoury said.

“We see a big opportunity for this [food and beverage] market to consolidate because a lot of the players are small players and we want to be the first player to start consolidation in this market.

“That's why we fully acquired 100 per cent of Black Spoon as our platform to consolidate the market … which means acquiring smaller brands and merging them under the platform, with the target to IPO [offer an initial public offering of] the platform in the next five years.”

He declined to provide further details on Jadwa's IPO road map.

The region's F&B sector is a highly competitive industry with cloud kitchens and the rise of delivery operators further adding to the competition for traditional restaurants.

In the GCC, the F&B market is projected to hit $128.2 billion by 2029, up from an estimated $94.4 billion in 2023, at a compound annual growth rate of more than 6.1 per cent, latest data from research firm OCO Global shows.

“The GCC region has a significant growth in population, not driven as much by organic growth and population as by attracting foreigners and expatriates because they're going through a massive boom in their economies,” Mr Elkhoury said.

“You have rising incomes of GCC nationals and expatriates, and more women are participating in the labour market … and with the rising incomes, we also have a change in spending behaviours, and when this happens, it's very good for consumer-related companies.”

Jadwa Investment has total client assets of 75 billion riyals in public and private equity, real estate, private credit, fixed income and money market investments.

Its clients include government-related entities, local and international institutional investors, local family companies and offices, and high-net-worth individuals.

Updated: December 18, 2023, 8:00 AM