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New deal to give Saudi’s Savola full Panda control

Saudi conglomerate plans to raise its stake to 100 percent.

September 25, 2010 4:29 by

Saudi-based conglomerate Savola Group plans to raise to 100 percent its stake in retail giant Al-Azizia Panda United from about 92 percent through a share swap and cash deal, Savola said.

Savola plans to issue 8.71 million new shares to Alhokair Group, and pay 20.7 million riyals ($5.52 million) in cash in exchange for latter’s 7 percent stake in Azizia, Savola said in a statement on the bourse website on Saturday.

The new shares are worth 310.8 million riyals based on Wednesday’s closing price.

Last year, Savola paid Fawaz Alhokair Group 248.6 million riyals in cash and 7 percent in shares in Azizia Panda to buy some assets held by supermarket chain Geant Saudi Arabia.

It was not immediately clear if the Alhokair Group Savola referred to in Saturday’s statement was the same Fawaz Alhokair Group that had sold the Geant assets to Savola.

This would be the second time in less than two months that a Saudi family-owned firm agrees to sell its shares in Azizia Panda United to Savola Group.

Savola said the Alhokair deal valued Azizia Panda United at 4.3 billion riyals.

Savola has in the past sold shares to the public in subsidiaries such as dairy firm Almarai and fast-food chain Herfy and has delayed plans to launch an initial public offering in Afia, its edible oil company.

($1=3.750 riyals) (Reporting by Souhail Karam; Editing by Firouz Sedarat)

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