Stock market-listed Qalaa Holdings has announced its intention to exit its remaining food businesses, hiring investment bank EFG Hermes to advise on the possibility of divestiture.
The two food companies are Egypt’s giant confectioner Rashidi El-Mizan and private-sector milk producer Dina Farms, Qalaa said in a statement, clarifying that the news arrives following its announcement on Monday to generate $300m medium-term through exiting non-core projects.
“In this context, we have been approached by more than one party interested in potential transactions regarding our key investments in the agrifoods sector; we have a clear duty to shareholders to fully explore our options in this respect,” said Qalaa Holdings Chairman and Founder, Ahmed Heikal.
Managing director and co-founder of Qalaa, Hisham El-Khazindar, pointed out that the company’s exiting of non-core projects would accelerate the deleveraging of Qalaa and fund growth opportunities in core subsidiaries, such as energy projects.
On 4 February, Qalaa exited on its 80% stake in investment bank Pharos Holding for Financial Investment, at a value of EGP 40m. A group of investors led by Pharos Holding’s chairman Mohamed Taymour has acquired the sold stakes with Qalaa’s subsidiary Finance Unlimited.
Pharos Holding has closed several transactions across chemicals and fertilisers, consumer finance, education, and telecommunications sectors. In 2014, Pharos acted as independent financial advisor to Orascom Telecom, Abu Soma Development Company, Global Telecom Holding, and Arabian Cement.
El-Khazindar said at that time that the exit of Pharos is part of their strategy to divest non-core businesses “in a timely manner” at the right valuations, as they narrow our focus on core subsidiaries in sectors including energy, cement, agrifoods, transportation and logistics, and mining.
In August, El-Khazindar told Daily News Egypt that the company expects revenues from its non-core industries during the next three years to be $700m.
In 2014, Qalaa cut ties with two companies, selling its stake in the Bank of Sudan for $21m, and passing Sphinx Glass to Saudi Arabia’s Construction Products Holding Company for $114m.
Qalaa Holdings, formerly known as Citadel Capital, currently owns assets amounting to $9.5bn. In the third quarter of 2014, it reduced its losses to EGP 59.6m, 67% less than the preceding quarter.
Qalaa Holdings is also investing in the Suez Canal Development project through three of its subsidiaries. The group’s cement subsidiary, ASEC, is acting along with 32 other companies to dig the new canal.