Middle East Pizza Hut operator adds Morgan Stanley to IPO

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The operator of KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants across the Middle East and North Africa has added Morgan Stanley to work on a planned initial public offering that could value the firm at around $8 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The New York-based bank will work alongside First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and SNB Capital for the IPO of Americana Group, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. Rothschild & Co. is the financial adviser on the IPO.

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Americana, backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and an investment vehicle led by Dubai-based businessman Mohamed Alabbar, started preparations for a dual listing in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi that could raise about $1 billion, Bloomberg News reported.

Details on size and timing of the offering are still preliminary and subject to change.

A representative for Americana declined to comment. A spokesperson for Morgan Stanley didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The IPO is expected to include the restaurant franchise business while the frozen foodstuff arm of the company will be excluded from the listing, two of the people said.

Americana operates restaurants for brands including TGI Fridays and Red Lobster as well as KFC and Pizza Hut, according to its website.

Alabbar’s Adeptio AD Investments SPC Ltd. bought the firm in 2016. The PIF took a 50 percent stake in Adeptio at the end of that year and Americana subsequently delisted from the Kuwait stock exchange.

If Americana decides to proceed with a listing, it will come amid a boom for IPOs in the Middle East.

Listings on Gulf stock exchanges are on track for their best-ever first half as high oil prices and broad economic reforms draw investors to the region.

IPOs in the Middle East have fetched $13.7 billion in the first five months of the year, already eclipsing the amount raised in any other first half, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Saudi Arabia - the largest Gulf IPO market - has seen 15 listings this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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