Carlyle gets first bite in Jordan

The firm’s equity injection in Nabil Foods, the sixth investment from its $500m MENA fund, will seek to tap growing demand for food imports in the region.

The Carlyle Group has acquired a significant minority stake in Al-Nabil Food Industries, Jordan’s largest producer of frozen and chilled food products. 

The Rassam family, who founded the business in 1945, will continue to hold a majority stake in Nabil Foods. No additional financial details were disclosed about the transaction. 

Carlyle’s equity investment will come from its four-year-old MENA fund, a $500 million vehicle focused on Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. The investment is in line with Carlyle's broader thesis in the region, which is driven by the desire to back family-owned groups in consumer-centric industries. 

Nabil Foods is Jordan's
largest producer of frozen
and chilled food products

Headquartered in Amman, Nabil Foods makes frozen and chilled food products including burgers, nuggets, cold cuts, ethnic foods, pre-cooked meats and sweets. Its client base comprises retail, catering and fast-food customers, located in more than 20 countries in the Middle-East, Africa and Asia. The company has stepped up its expansion efforts over recent years, allowing it to grow threefold since 2009. 

“Nabil is a household name in Jordan. Its comprehensive offering of high-quality products represents an excellent platform for regional growth,” commented Firas Nasir, managing director and co-head of Carlyle MENA, in a statement. 

Underpinned by a young and growing customer base, the Gulf states' food imports are expected by an annual 8 percent every year this decade, whilst fast-food consumption is predicted to increase by 11.5 percent over the same period. 

The deal follows a number of previous investments in the sector by Carlyle, such as the acquisition of a 42 percent stake in Alamar Foods, the operator of Domino’s Pizza and Wendy’s restaurants, from Saudi Arabia’s Al-Jammaz family in 2011. 

Other investments by its MENA fund have included  Turkey’s hospital group Medical Park, hosiery Penti, as well as Saudi Arabia’s General Lighting Company.