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|| Dubai private equity firm and CVCI acquired stake in supermarket chain for $100 million

levant-alraya.jpgDubai-based provate equity firm Levant Capital and CVCI (Citi Venture Capital International) announced today that they have jointly acquired a controlling stake in Al-Raya, a supermarket chain in Saudi Arabia, for $100 million.

Levant Capital is established in 2006, based in Dubai and manages several investment vehicles that count international institutions and leading GCC family offices as investors. Levant Capital is chaired by HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Alsaud.

Levant Capital is listed in the Middle East Investors Directory with the code ORP11

More details follows:

Investment funds advised by Levant Capital Limited ("Levant Capital") and Citi Venture Capital International ("CVCI") announced today that they have jointly acquired a controlling stake in Al-Raya For Foodstuff Company Limited ("Al-Raya"), a leading supermarket chain in Saudi Arabia. The transaction, valued at USD 100 million, presents an opportunity for Levant Capital and CVCI to capitalize on the growth in consumer-driven demand and the increasingly attractive middle income segment of the Gulf region's largest economy. The transaction closed on February 21, 2012.

Based in Jeddah, Al-Raya operates a fast-growing chain of 25 supermarkets across 14 cities of the western and southern regions of Saudi Arabia. The company achieved sales of approximately SAR 800 million in 2011, an increase of 17% since 2010. Founded more than 20 years ago by the current management, the company has a leading position and strong brand loyalty; serving more than 50,000 customers daily across the cities it operates in, which include Jeddah, Najran, Jizan, Madina, Sabya and Taif.

Sunil Nair, CVCI Managing Partner and region head for EMEA commented: "We are very excited about the macro-economic fundamentals of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the largest and most attractive economy in the Middle East region, as well as the sector and company's growth prospects. This buyout is part of CVCI's strategy of investing in consumer focused businesses in emerging markets and backing strong management teams".

Commenting on the transaction, Salameh Sweis, Chief Executive Officer of Levant Capital said: "We are pleased to have acquired a controlling stake in Al-Raya. The food retail sector in Saudi Arabia has been experiencing significant growth, driven by increases in population and disposable income and the supermarket segment within the food retail sector is expected to grow faster than the overall market as consumers continue to migrate towards organised retail, which Al-Raya is well positioned to capitalise upon."

Mr Majed Al-Khammash, founder and CEO of Al-Raya, said: "We are delighted to partner with Levant Capital and CVCI for the next chapter in Al-Raya's history. We have an ambitious growth plan that involves rolling out new stores. We want to more than double in size over the next few years and we look forward to leveraging the experience and know-how of our new shareholders to support us in achieving this plan. Our expansion will continue to focus on our core markets where we want to remain the grocery shopping destination of choice for Saudi families."

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