Spinneys plans to list 25% of shares in Dubai IPO

The UAE retailer plans to open its first store in Saudi Arabia in the first half of this year, CEO says

The subscription period for retail investors will start on April 23. Antonie Robertson / The National
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Spinneys, the operator of premium supermarkets in the UAE and Oman, plans to list its shares through an initial public offering on the Dubai Financial Market as it seeks to tap into "enormous opportunities" to boost its UAE presence and expand into Saudi Arabia.

Spinneys will sell 900 million shares, or 25 per cent of the company's issued share capital, through the IPO, it said on Tuesday.

All shares being offered in the public float are held by Al Seer Group as the selling shareholder. It reserves the right to amend the size of the offering.

The IPO will be open for subscription for UAE investors as part of the retail tranche of the deal. Institutional investors will also be able to subscribe as part of the qualified investors’ offering.

The subscription period for retail investors will commence on April 23 through to the end of April 29. For professional investors, it will conclude on April 30.

"This is the right time to invite investors to participate in our future growth," Sunil Kumar, Spinneys' chief executive, told The National.

"This listing will provide us an added strategic flexibility for our ambitious plan going forward, it will attract a wider spectrum of shareholders from diversified portfolios and we will have access to the capital market to achieve our ambitious plan."

The UAE and Saudi Arabia offer the high-end supermarket chain "white-space opportunities, considering the macroeconomic growth in this region", he added.

The final offer price for the IPO will be determined through a book-building process and Spinneys shares are expected to begin trading on the DFM in May.

Spinneys expects robust demand from regional and international investors based on discussions in which the company outlined its future growth plans and expected dividend payout, Mr Kumar said.

"What we've seen from our interactions with investors in the last six months is everyone is very positive about the business model," he said.

"The investors have high confidence in the business because it is going to be listed with our growth story as well as a dividend pipeline."

Investors are also confident in the UAE and wider GCC's stock markets, the region's solid macroeconomic growth and the strong performance of recent listings in regional bourses, he added.

Spinneys has a 27 per cent share in its target market in Dubai and 12 per cent of the Dh23 billion target market in the UAE in 2022 amid continued growth in its online sales, its private label brands and its fresh food offerings.

"It is an enormous opportunity for us [to grow further]," said Mr Kumar, who began his career at Spinneys 30 years ago.

The intention to float shares by Spinneys is the latest among issuers lining up to raise funds through listing amid the continued economic momentum in Dubai.

Companies in Dubai raised Dh34.5 billion ($9.4 billion) through selling shares in the past three years, with aggregate investor demand for those listings reaching more than Dh1 trillion, the Dubai Securities and Exchange Higher Committee said in March.

The continued IPO activity in that period has helped the Dubai bourse to maintain robust growth that pushed its general index to become the fifth-best performer globally last year, the committee said.

In November 2021, Dubai said it would list 10 state-owned companies and establish a Dh2 billion market maker fund to encourage listings from private companies in sectors such as energy, logistics and retail.

The government aims to expand the size of the emirate's financial market to Dh3 trillion and six state-owned enterprises have listed on the DFM since 2022.

Parking operator Parkin's IPO last month, the first in the UAE capital markets this year, raised Dh1.57 billion from investors. Demand for the deal hit a record Dh259 billion.

Expansion plans

Spinneys, which operates premium grocery retail supermarkets under its own brand as well as Waitrose and Al Fair in the UAE and Oman, plans to expand into Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy, this year.

Spinneys will open its first shop in the kingdom in the first half of this year, with three more to follow by the end of the year, Mr Kumar said.

The company plans on expanding at the rate of two to four new stores annually in Saudi Arabia for the next five years, depending on the availability of property, he said.

In the UAE, Spinneys sees a "wide range of growth potential".

It will establish Kitchen by Spinneys that will provide ethnic food options, with the first concept store to open in Dubai Mall in the first half of this year, he said.

The company is betting on Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s affluent residents for growth opportunities. A total of 42 per cent of Spinneys' revenue is generated from private label brands.

While it will use its own cash flow to fund these growth plans, the IPO will help the company gain access to capital in case of future opportunities for mergers and acquisitions, Mr Kumar said.

However, there are no immediate plans for such deals, he added.

Navigating regional challenges

Spinneys' IPO announcement comes amid the possibility of rising regional geopolitical tensions after Iran launched an attack on Israel at the weekend.

But the escalating tensions, coupled with inflationary pressures and the Red Sea shipping attacks that have snarled maritime trade, have had "minimal impact" on the company's supply chain and procurement, Mr Kumar said.

Its portfolio comprises 75 outlets across a gross leasable area of 1.3 million square feet, 64 of which are owned by the group, while the rest are run under an operations arrangement.

Revenue last year expanded to Dh2.87 billion at an annual growth rate of 8.2 per cent from 2019, driven by an increased online penetration and expanding store footprint in the UAE.

Rothschild & Co Middle East is the independent financial adviser on the deal, while Emirates NBD Capital, Merrill Lynch and HSBC Bank Middle East are joint global co-ordinators and bookrunners.

Updated: April 16, 2024, 10:15 AM