Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Food store Kibsons says IPO could be on the table

A listing would be more favourable than a merger or acquisition, said Kibsons CEO Halima Jumani Kibsons
A listing would be more favourable than a merger or acquisition, said Kibsons CEO Halima Jumani
  • $100m turnover this year
  • UAE-GCC expansion planned
  • Food sector is ‘intense’

Kibsons, the family-owned food delivery company in the UAE, has said a potential listing of the business is “absolutely” on the table. 

Launched in 2016, it processes over 35,000 orders a week. And founder and CEO Halima Jumani says they are on target to hit $100 million in turnover this year.

Jumani, who co-owns the business with her husband Jamal Hussain, its managing director, said they are looking to expand further into the UAE, while other GCC countries are also options, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Egypt.

“An IPO could be one way for us to raise the capital,” she said. “It depends on how much of the company we open up to the IPO.”

A growing number of regional food retail businesses are choosing to go public.

Americana Restaurants, the frozen-food seller and Middle East and North Africa franchisee of fast food restaurants KFC and Pizza Hut, debuted in a dual listing in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh last December.

Supermarket chain Spinneys Dubai announced last month that it is planning an IPO on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) next year.

Retail conglomerate Lulu Group International has also expressed an intention to IPO in the first half of 2024.

The UAE’s online grocery delivery market is estimated to be growing at an annual rate of 29 percent. It will be worth almost $7 billion by 2032, according to a report by SPER Market Research. 

Vijay Valecha, chief investment officer at Century Financial, said the food and physical retail sector has become “overcrowded”.

“The evolving trends point to the fact that for most of the major online food retailers, the competition is intense,” he said.

Jumani admitted that a listing would be more favourable than pursuing a merger or acquisition.

“We are not looking to bring capital in for the sake of capital alone,” she said.

Mena entities were involved in 318 new M&A deals in the first six months of 2023. That is down 14 percent year on year although the combined sales value declined only 0.4 percent to just under $44 billion, research from consultants EY found.

Kibsons has struck up partnerships with UK food retailers Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer and is currently in the middle of launching its latest tie-up with Ireland’s Super Value.

The latest S&P Global Dubai Purchasing Managers Index for September shows that business activity and confidence in the emirate’s non-oil sector have returned to pre-pandemic levels, and retail in particular has enjoyed growth.

Jumani admitted that navigating the current economic context – marked by heightened volatility in terms of trade stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, further conflict in the Middle East, a worldwide surge in interest rates, currency depreciations and inflationary pressures – is tricky.

She revealed that interest costs alone have more than doubled, while import charges are up by at least 15 percent.

“The costs in the international markets are rising and that’s affecting our suppliers,” she said.

Kibsons, which employs over 1,500 people and has a fleet of more than 200 vehicles, has also seen the price of talent and payroll increase by 15 percent, Jumani said.

Latest articles

Turkey foreign property sales

Foreigners turning back on Turkish real estate

Foreign buyers are increasingly shunning the Turkish property market, wary of high prices, the expensive cost of living and a less welcoming environment for overseas real estate investors. There were only 2,064 residential units sold to foreign buyers in May, 35 percent down on the same month last year, data issued by the state statistics […]

2KEY8G1 Emirates Airline Airbus A380 aircraft landing. Aerial view of Emirates Airlines A380-800 airplane. An Emirates plane coming in to land at LAX; a spokesperson for Emirates said the contraventions were for safety reasons

US fines Emirates for operating in prohibited airspace

Emirates has been fined $1.5 million by the US Transportation Department for operating flights carrying JetBlue Airways’ JBLU.O designator code in prohibited airspace. The transportation department said that between December 2021 and August 2022, Emirates operated a significant number of flights carrying the JetBlue Airways code between the United Arab Emirates and the United States […]

Egypt will use the US funding across a range of sectors including agriculture

US allocates $130m development funding to Egypt

The US has allocated funding of $130 million for a range of developmental projects in Egypt, it was announced on Thursday. In a press release published by the US Embassy in Cairo, ambassador Herro Mustafa Garg said that the money would go towards “advancing Egyptian efforts to achieve a brighter, healthier, and more prosperous future […]

Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio. A US VC fund backed by him plans to invest $50m in Mena climate tech startups

US firm to invest $50m in Mena climate tech

A US venture capital firm backed by Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio plans to invest $50 million in Mena climate tech startups over the next five years. Princeville Capital is targeting mature startups with strong growth potential, facilitating quick exits and a clear path to profitability, its co-founder Joaquin Rodriguez Torres told AGBI. The firm has […]