The alternative asset management arm of Global Investment House, Global Capital Management (GCM), has acquired a 100 per cent stake in Yum Yum Tree Food Court, one of the largest quick service restaurants (QSR) managers in the Gulf region.
Established in 1995 with five restaurants in Bahrain and one in the UAE, Yum Yum Tree has grown exponentially to reach nearly 180 restaurants, steered by the vision of its founder Adel Bukhowa and his son Omar Bukhowa.
Yum Yum Tree is today the master franchisee or operator of more than 20 international and regional brands including Vanellis, Subway (Bahrain), Teryaki, Pad Thai and Al Mangal. The retail channel of Yum Yum Tree consists of approximately 180 restaurants across Bahrain, the UAE, Qatar, and via a sub-franchisee agreement in Saudi Arabia. It is currently present in key mall locations including Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates in UAE, Deira City Centre and Seef Mall in Bahrain, and Villagio Mall in Qatar.
Yum Yum Tree is well positioned to benefit from the growth in the fast food market which is estimated to increase by more than USD2 billion in the next four years, due to increasing income levels, favourable demographics, and a strong pipeline of mall development.
Sulaiman Al-Rubaie, managing partner at GCM and head of Global’s alternative asset management division, says: “We are proud to have successfully acquired such an outstanding company with great potential for growth. This acquisition gives our clients unique access into a growing sector which is resilient to economic downturns. Unlike the fine and casual dining segments, the QSR segment is least prone to economic volatilities and has already shown resilience in the past two challenging years for retail and especially food retail in the region.”
Ihsan Sancay, senior vice president of private equity, says: “Yum Yum has been innovative in introducing well known international brands to the GCC region in addition to the development of home grown local brands which have proved popular. GCM will support Yum Yum Tree’s growth plans through a capital injection, and we will be focusing on expanding our presence across Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman, in addition to the further development of the local brands and acquisition of new international brands.”
Through different funds, the private equity team has invested more than USD300 million since the end of 2009 and has returned more than USD380 million to its clients during the same period despite a challenging exit environment for private companies in the region.
In the upcoming months, Global and GCM are planning to offer products with attractive returns in the food and beverage, education and healthcare sectors.
Sancay adds: “With the addition of our strong experience in value creation, corporate structuring, international expansion and management by financial metrics, Yum Yum Tree will be very well positioned to expand both its restaurant locations and brand portfolio. We are delighted to team up with an experienced management team who are ideally suited to achieve the firm’s growth plan.”
Omar Bukhowa says: “We are confident that Global’s private equity team will take Yum Yum Tree to the next level as a truly international concept and we would like to wish them the best of success for years to come.”
Trowers and Hamlins-Bahrain were the legal advisers on the transaction, and KPMG-Bahrain and PWC-Dubai undertook the roles of financial and commercial due diligence advisers respectively. The Bukhowas were advised by Baker & McKenzie Habib Al Mulla as their legal advisers, and the transaction advisory services were provided by Ernst & Young Corporate Finance-Dubai.