There is a new entrant in the food sector of the MEED 100 list, which previously only consisted of Saudi Arabia’s Almarai Company and Savola Group.

Food 
Rank 2010 Rank 2009 Company Exchange Market Cap ($m) Share price ($)
34 29 Almarai Company Tadawul 5,436 47.27
38 61 Savola Group  Tadawul 4,720 9.44
86 na Kuwait Food Company (Americana) Kuwait 2,172 5.5
Source: Thomson Reuters

Kuwait Food Company (Americana) has entered at 86 with a market capitalisation of $2.2bn. Headed by the Al-Kharafi family, the firm has been steadily diversifying for a number of years, capitalising on the growth in Kuwait’s economy.

Americana is the regional franchise partner for global food brands such as Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, Costa Coffee, Hardee’s, Baskin-Robbins, TGI Friday’s and Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

In February 2009, the group signed a franchise agreement with the UK’s San Carlo Group to launch its Signor Sassi restaurant chain across the region. The deal will involve Americana opening 22 regional outlets of the London-based Italian restaurant chain, starting in Kuwait, Cairo, Riyadh and Dubai.

Saudi dairy giant Almarai Company dropped five places in this year’s listing to 34 despite increasing its market capitalisation to $5.4bn from $4.5bn. Almarai is the largest dairy producer in the GCC. Its results for 2009 show an increase in profits to SR2.3bn, from SR1.9bn in the previous year.

In 2009, Almarai entered into a joint venture with Pepsico targeting acquisitions outside the Gulf. Later in the same year, the firm announced the acquisition of Hail Agriculture Development Company. Almarai plans to begin production at a new SR650m infant formula plant and a SR200m baked goods plant by the fourth quarter of 2010.

The Savola Group enjoyed a stronger showing, rising 23 places as its market capitalisation rose almost $1.5bn to $4.7bn. The group is Saudi Arabia’s largest food producer, with a large presence throughout the region and North Africa. Its core activities are in edible oils, sugar, packaging and bottled juices, but is also a major retailer, operating a number of hypermarkets under the HyperPanda brand.

Savola recorded preliminary net profit of SR952m, an increase of 371 per cent from SR202m in the previous year. Stability in raw material prices was highlighted as one of the drivers in net income. Sales volumes for the foods sector grew by 22 per cent to reach 3.2 million tonnes in the oil and sugar businesses, demonstrating growth in demand. The sector generated a net profit of SR400m.

The firm’s retail sector also saw record sales reaching SR7.3bn, an increase of 30 per cent from 12 months ago.