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GCC FIRM IN TALKS WITH BANKS

Adeptio mulls $1.65bn loan to fund Americana acquisition

DUBAI, June 22, 2016

Gulf-based Adeptio is in advanced talks with banks to secure a $1.65 billion bridge loan to fund its purchase of a majority stake in Kuwait Food Company (Americana), banking sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

Discussions with the lenders were at an advanced stage, with the deal expected to conclude in July, the sources said.

Americana owns the Middle East franchises for fast food chains KFC and Pizza Hut and also produces branded consumer foods. It has been up for sale since early 2014 and is one of the region's most protracted acquisition sagas.

Investment firm Adeptio said on Saturday it had agreed to buy all the shares held by Al Khair National for Stocks and Real Estate, controlled by the Kharafi family, in Americana at 2.650 dinars ($8.81) each.

Americana's shares closed on Wednesday at 2.550 dinars.

Al Khair had been offering a 69 per cent stake in Americana.

Led by Dubai businessman Mohamed Alabbar, Adeptio agreed in February to buy the stake but the sale process fell apart at the end of May. Reuters reported last week that talks had resumed.

One of the sources said the acquisition would be made through a block trade, meaning the buyer would purchase a large chunk of shares in the company listed on the bourse.

The banks providing the loan include National Bank of Abu Dhabi, First Gulf Bank, Emirates NBD, Standard Chartered and Credit Suisse, the sources said. The same lenders were involved in the proposed financing for the deal that collapsed in May.

When the 18-month loan being negotiated matures it will be refinanced by the same banks through a combination of a bond or loan, the sources said.

One of the sources said the loan would be priced at between 400 to 500 basis points over Libor.

Nobody was immediately available to comment from Adeptio.

A source at the Kharafi group told Reuters: "We bless the deal ... and believe it will reflect well on the entire Kuwaiti economy."

The source declined to set a date for the completion of the deal.-Reuters




Tags: Kuwait | loan | acquisition | Americana | Adeptio |

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