UAE supermarket chain Lulu hires Moelis for IPO: Report

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Abu Dhabi-headquartered supermarket chain Lulu Group International is planning an initial public offering and has hired investment bank Moelis & Co to advise it, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Lulu, one of the largest supermarket chains in the Gulf region founded by Indian-born businessman Yusuff Ali, operates 239 stores in 23 countries and employs more than 60,000 people, according to its website.

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A boom in Gulf stock market listings is bucking the global trend, as the region reaps the benefits of high oil prices and investor inflows.

The supermarket chain plans to list next year, the sources said, after grocery businesses emerged unscathed from the pandemic.

Lulu did not respond to a Reuters request for comment and Moelis declined to comment.

Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ said two years ago that it was investing up to $1 billion in Lulu to help it expand in Egypt, with sources later saying it had bought a 20 percent stake, implying an overall valuation for the company of $5 billion.

ADQ CEO Mohamed Hassan al-Suwaidi said at the time the deal reflected the fund's wider commitment to investing in Egypt.

ADQ set up a $20 billion joint investment platform with the Sovereign Fund of Egypt in late 2019 and has invested heavily in the most populous Arab country.

Before the ADQ deal was announced, Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia's sovereign fund, the Public Investment Fund, was in early discussions to buy a stake in Lulu. A deal never materialized.

It was not immediately clear how much of the company Lulu planned to float.

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