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|| Bahrain private equity firm acquired stake in a food & catering company

growthgate.jpgGrowthGate, a Bahrain registered private equity firm, has reached an agreement to acquire 22% of International Foods, a food and catering services firm in the Middle East.

International Foods is headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi with operations in Saudi, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. It is a privately held corporation with expected consolidated revenues in 2010, of $81 million and consolidated EBITDA of $10.32 million for the same period. The value of the acquisition was not disclosed.

Growthgate is listed in the Middle East Investors Directory with the code EM10.

Their full press release follows

GrowthGate, the GCC-based specialist buyout firm, announced that it has reached a final agreement to acquire 22% of International Foods Services LLC ("International Foods"), a Saudi conglomerate engaged in food processing, distribution of consumables (wholesale & retail), and catering services. The company is headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi with operations Saudi, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. International Foods is a privately held corporation with expected consolidated revenues in 2010, of SAR 314 million and consolidated EBITDA of SAR 39.7 million for the same period. The value of the acquisition was not disclosed. Closing if expected prior to end of October.

International Foods owns & operates several processing plants for meat, jams, dairies, potato chips and baked food products. On the wholesale front, the company's dry and cold storage facilities support the marketing and distribution of its fully-owned brands: 'Gold Fields', 'hot & crispy', 'Versailles Pain' and 'Jeena', and other international labels; whilst on the retail side, the company owns the 'Ahlan' mini-markets chain that operates in Saudi, UAE and Syria, as well as, a string of well-established food outlets (Capo Grillo and Hot & Crispy). International Foods has made significant inroads in catering including, in the labor segment, the Hajj pilgrims' niche market, and the Halal airline meals.

The CEO, Mr. Ziad Rayess stated "We are encouraged by GrowthGate's investment which is a vote of confidence in International Foods and its strategy of expansion both in terms of business lines and footprint across the GCC, the Levant and North Africa". The integration of food processing, food distribution, and added value services, such as catering, has been a successful recipe in this sector to capitalize on economies of scale and exploit synergies. The non-cyclical and defensive aspect of the food sector, as demonstrated throughout the current global crisis, adds to the appeal and merits of such investment. "We view this investment as a validation of our business model by a value-investor such as GrowthGate who is known to back management teams in promising enterprises with growth-orientated strategies and regionally expandable businesses", Mr. Rayess added.

GrowthGate -managed by Keystone - follows a 'buy and build' investment strategy that partners with performance-driven entrepreneurs with solid growth plans, to propel medium-sized businesses into becoming regional champions, and beyond. This deal marks the 8th direct equity investment by GrowthGate since its capitalization in mid 2007, the first in the food sector and its 3rd in Saudi. GrowthGate's current portfolio comprises: Able Logistics Group, Gama Aviation Holding, Roots Group; Averda International, Rubicon Holding, IrisGuard; and Roots Steel.



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