Qatar First Bank (QFB), Qatar’s first independent Shari’ah compliant bank regulated by Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority, announced that its portfolio company Al Rifai International Holding (Al Rifai), the leading Lebanese manufacturer and retailer of nuts, kernels and confectionary, has signed an agreement to sell its Al Rifai Nutisal AB (Nutisal) operations in Sweden to Cloetta, a leading confectionary company in the Nordic region, the Netherlands and Italy dating back to 1862.
Al Rifai International Holding which is 35% owned by QFB, agreed to sell the Nutisal operations for an upfront payment and a deferred payment, based on 2016 results. Alrifai Nutisal AB produces and sells dry roasted nuts under the brand Nutisal, primarily in the branded bags segment using unique knowledge and technology. It was established in 2007 in Sweden and has around 60 employees. Nutisal has annual sales of about SEK 200m. Today, Sweden accounts for 50% of the sales, and the rest is sold in Denmark, Norway, Germany, UK and the Benelux countries. Nutisal holds the number two position in the branded nuts market in Sweden and the number three position in the total nuts market. Nutisal products are distributed through its own sales force in Sweden and through distributors in the other markets.
“We are pleased with the exit of Nutisal and are confident that we have placed the business and the brand in safe hands. We are positive that Cloetta will endorse the Nutisal brand and ensure its continued growth in Sweden and beyond, “commented Mohamed Rifai, CEO of Al Rifai International Holding Ltd.
Ahmad Meshari QFB Acting CEO commented, “We congratulate Al Rifai on this exit. We are confident that Al Rifai will continue to diversify its product range and venture into new markets creating value to its shareholders”
QFB had acquired 15% of Al Rifai International in December 2011, and then due to the company’s strong performance and future growth prospects QFB increased its share to 35% in September 2012. Since then QFB has been a key driver of Al Rifai’s growth, streamlining operations and increasing the company’s market share in the region. In 2013 Al Rifai with the support of QFB has embarked on major strategic initiatives which include improving its operational efficiency, expanding its geographical reach and strengthening its brand.