Friday, April 4, 2014

Kharafi family to sell Americana and more News

Kuwait's billionaire Al Kharafi family is looking to sell Americana, one of the Middle East's largest food companies, and has hired bankers to explore a deal, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

There is no formal process underway, the sources said, but the family is working with investment bank Rothschild to approach potential buyers including private equity groups and sovereign wealth funds in the region to explore their interest in the $3.6bn group.

According to Thomson Reuters data, the Kharafi family holds 66.8 percent of Kuwait Food Company, which sells goods under the brand name Americana, through its private investment company MAK (Mohammed Abdulmohsin Al Kharafi & Sons).(link)

Rothschild declined to comment. Americana and MAK were not immediately available for comment.

-Commercial Bank of Kuwait to convert to Islamic banking-

Commercial Bank of Kuwait, the Gulf state's fifth largest lender by assets, said a majority of shareholders had approved a plan to convert the bank into a full-fledged Islamic lender, state news agency KUNA reported.

The bank's chairman Ali Mousa Al Mousa was quoted as saying on Wednesday that 85 percent of shareholders had approved the move, adding that the measure would still require further approvals.
"The decision does not take immediate effect - it is just a first step in a legal process involving several studies and approvals."

The bank also said it had received approval to raise KWD120m ($426m) through the sale of subordinated bonds to help in its expansion plans.

-SUV made by Aston Martin and Mercedes Benz-

Aston Martin, the British luxury car maker part-owned by Kuwait’s Investment Dar, is in discussions with Mercedes-Benz over building its first SUV and hopes to have the SUV in showrooms within three to four year, it was reported.

The FT said a possible SUV collaboration is one of a number of potential areas of collaboration between Aston and Mercedes. The paper cited people who declined to be identified.

However, an Aston Martin spokeswoman told Reuters that the automaker does not have any such plans. "We do not currently have a plan to add an SUV to the model line-up." She declined to elaborate on product discussions.(link)

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