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Saudi retailer Alhokair eyes acquisitions, may tap bond market

Company considering opportunities in US, CIS, Africa; Some smaller deals due to close before end-2011; Eyes various financing options to fund growth plans

November 21, 2011 1:23 by

Saudi Arabia-based retailer Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co is eyeing small and medium-sized acquisitions and may consider tapping the bond markets to raise capital in the future, the company’s chief financial officer said on Monday.

“There are many opportunities. We are looking at the region and also outside, including the U.S., Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries and Africa,” Abdulrahman Moulay, the group chief financial officer (CFO) told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai.

“We expect to close some of the smaller acquisition deals before the end of the year,” he added.

Alhokair has 75 franchises in the Middle East and 1,300 stores worldwide. Its franchises include international brands such as Zara, Marks & Spencer’s, Gap, Aldo, Monsoon, Accessorize and Topshop.

Moulay said the market is benefiting from strong economic growth in the kingdom and the retail sector is facing excellent growth.

The company is also looking at various financing options to fund its growth plans.

“The market is now very attractive for debt products given low interest rate environment. The 2012 window is very important and though there are no immediate plans, we are looking at all options for financing,” said Moulay.

In March, the firm announced plans to set up a joint venture with Burberry to market and sell the British luxury goods group’s products. Alhokair will hold a 40 percent stake in the Riyadh-based company. (By Dinesh Nair; Writing by Praveen Menon; Editing by Rachna Uppal)

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