Abraaj exits Hot Pot withThailand IPO

The MENA-based private equity firm has sold its holding in the Thai restaurant chain, completing another successful exit via IPO in Southeast Asia this year.

The Abraaj Group has exited its investment in Hot Pot through an initial public offering on the Thai stock exchange, according to a statement. It said the IPO was more than three times oversubscribed, with media reports saying the transaction was worth close to $10 million.

Abraaj took control of the business when it acquired fellow emerging markets private equity firm Aureos Capital earlier this year. Aureos originally invested in the Thailand-based restaurant chain in 2006 through its Southeast Asia fund.

Since 2006, the business has experienced an average annual growth rate of 25 percent. Under Abraaj and Aureos’ control the company grew its number of branches to 126 from 58 and improved its health and safety record, according to the firm.

“Achieving such a heavily oversubscribed share offering in what has been a globally weak IPO market is a great result,” Omar Lodhi, senior partner at Abraaj, commented. “We made this investment on the basis that growth in Southeast Asia would be fast, sustainable and lead to a dramatic increase in domestic spending – not least in categories such as casual dining.”

He continued: “Working with Hot Pot’s management, our team realised that there was a very profitable opportunity to create branded restaurant chains that could take significant market share within this rapidly expanding niche.”

Abraaj has successfully exited a number of its Asia investments through a listing this year, something its peers in the region have struggled with. In July, the firm exited Malaysian hospital chain IHH Healthcare in an RM 6 billion (€1.6 billion; $2 billion) IPO. It also exited its investment in Cirtek Electronics, a semi-conductor business, through an IPO on the Philippine Stock Exchange earlier this year.