Qatar First Bank (QFB), Qatar’s first independent Shari’ah compliant bank authorized by the QFC Regulatory Authority announced the acquisition of a 49% stake in Food Services Company (FSC). FSC is a leading Food & Beverages company that operates a 16-branch network of 5 brands: Opera Patisserie, Opera Café, Opera Catering, Take Away and Kanafji.
The acquisition marks QFB’s second investment in the Food & Beverages sector and the fourth in the Qatari market demonstrating QFB’s dedication to sectoral and geographical diversification.
Ahmad Meshari, QFB Acting CEO commented, “From the outset, our investment strategy focuses on sectors that are expected to benefit from macroeconomic growth. The F&B sector in the Qatar is projected to maintain its historical growth driven by robust macroeconomic fundamentals and population growth. We look forward to working with FSC and assisting them in implementing their ambitious expansion plan.”
Ihab Asali, Head of QFB’s Private Equity Department commented, “We are pleased to be partnering with FSC which has a proven track record of growth and innovation. We believe that FSC is well positioned to capitalize on the future growth expected to take place.”
FSC was established in 1997 in Doha by Qais Al Saleh, is one of the first home-grown and branded F&B concepts that still exists today. FSC has witnessed significant growth since inception growing from 1 branch in 1997 to having a 16 branch network as of 2014. Through its household brands, FSC offers different menu selections to appeal to a wide range of tastes, in addition it provides catering services to corporates and individuals.
Qais Al Saleh, Chairman of FSC, commented, “We are very pleased to welcome QFB as a shareholder in FSC. We are confident that QFB will be able to unlock value, streamline operations and be a catalyst of future growth”
Mubarak Al Groon, Founder, Partner and General Manager of FSC stated, “We are very proud of the historical growth that FSC has been able to achieve. Furthermore, FSC will leverage upon its leading market position to further roll-out new branches of its various brands across the State of Qatar.”
Deloitte acted as the exclusive sell side financial advisor to the deal.
The F&B sector is experiencing rapid growth in the MENA region in general and Qatar in specific driven by growth in population and disposable income. Qatar’s food consumption increased at a CAGR of 8.8% between 2004 and 2010, having the highest rate among GCC countries. Furthermore, Qatar’s population is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4% between 2012 and 2017, the highest among GCC countries.