Qatar ups stake in Lebanese nuts manufacturer

Al Rifai has opened five new outlets in Lebanon, reaching a total of 50 stores. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Qatar First Investment Bank announced Monday that it has increased its equity stake in leading Lebanese nuts manufacturer Al Rifai International Holding to 35 percent.

The financial details of the transaction have not been revealed. “Since acquiring a 15 percent stake in Al Rifai in late December last year, the company has shown positive growth prospects.

We strongly believe that Al Rifai has the right setup to venture into new markets and diversify its product range,” Emad Mansour, CEO of the Islamic Bank, said in an emailed press release.

According to the statement, Al Rifai’s total wholesales recorded a 63.2 percent growth year on year during the first half 2012. Export sales also jumped 66 percent in the same period.

Since January 2012 the holding company has opened five outlets in Lebanon, reaching a total of 50 stores across the country, the statement added.

The nut and coffee producer is currently seeking to increase its local production to a total capacity of 10,000 tons a year, matching the capacity of its European plant in Sweden.

To achieve the increase in capacity, a new factory will open during the second quarter of 2013 and will cater to an increase in local and regional demand.

“We strongly welcome the increase of QFIB’s share in Al Rifai. The increased stake by QFIB will enable Al Rifai to effectively manage risks, enhance corporate governance and ultimately facilitate growth,” said Mohammad Al Rifai, CEO of Al Rifai.

“We look forward to continue working alongside QFIB’s team to further enhance the group’s performance and expand its operations,” he added.

Al Rifai has recorded remarkable growth since 2009, doubling its revenues after achieving significant advances in the Lebanese market.

The group has tapped into the European market, establishing a 10,000 square meter manufacturing facility in Sweden and producing products under the Nutisal brand.

In December last year, QFIB acquired a 15 percent stake in Al Rifai, which maintains full ownership of Nutisal and other international Al Rifai ventures.

QFIB, established in 2009, targets sectors that include energy, financial services, industry, real estate, and health care services.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 11, 2012, on page 5.




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