Abu Dhabi’s The National Investor snaps up supermarket chain

TNI led consortium acquires 50 per cent stake in Abela's holding company.
A shopper at an Abela Supermarket in Abu Dhabi. Silvia Razgova / The National
A shopper at an Abela Supermarket in Abu Dhabi. Silvia Razgova / The National

Abu Dhabi’s The National Investor (TNI) has announced its entry into the food services sector, buying into the company behind Abela Supermarkets with a view to ultimately spinning it off in an initial public offering.

The investment banking group, newly listed on Abu Dhabi’s platform for private firms, on Wednesday announced that it had led a consortium of investors in acquiring a 50 per cent equity stake in National Catering Company (NCC).

A National Investor spokesman said the other investors involved are all Abu Dhabi-based family offices and their investment arms, declining to give further details. The acquisition was funded entirely by cash, he noted.

NCC has grown its revenues more than ninefold from 2006 to last year, at a compounded annual growth rate of 36.2 per cent, and has a backlog pipeline in excess of Dh1.1 billion, according to TNI.

The acquisition comes as NCC looks to expand outside its base of Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates to the wider GCC market, with a stock listing of the firm expected in the medium term.

“We expect the company to continue to capture market share in the expanding oil and gas onshore and offshore industrial catering market in Abu Dhabi, benefit from the continued increase in construction activity in the UAE, and replicate its successful business model across the GCC,” said Abdullah Mazrui, the chairman of TNI.

“From the beginning, our objective was to diversify our shareholder base and prepare the company for a potential listing over the medium term,” said NCC’s managing partner Hany Abdel Noor.

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the transaction, and look forward to working together with TNI and our esteemed partners to take the company to greater heights.”

The National Investor spokesman said the group is targeting a series of private equity transactions outside the UAE in the wider GCC region next year.

TNI’s portfolio includes Colliers International, a property advisory firm, Mafraq Hotel, a four-star property on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, Knightsbridge Global Security, a security firm, L’azurde, a gold and jewellery manufacturer, and Dubai Contracting Company, a development contractor.

jeverington@thenational.ae

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Published: December 10, 2014 04:00 AM

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