Business

Dutch company to acquire Pakistani food conglomerate

KARACHI: A Dutch dairy cooperative is set to buy out a Pakistani food giant with an investment of around $460 million, in what would amount to the largest private sector takeover by a foreign firm in the country’s history.

FrieslandCampina International Holding BV intends to acquire a 51 percent stake of Engro Foods Limited, one of the largest listed companies at the benchmark Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), a notification on the bourse’s website said Thursday.

The deal would bring in a minimum investment of $460 million based on the Pakistani firm’s present stock value.

“Yes, it is the largest ever deal in the private sector,” analyst Faisal Shaji, head of research at Standard Capital Securities, said.

Citibank Pakistan is the financial advisor.

Shahji added the deal would be closely watched by international investors eyeing the emerging South Asian economy.

“Pakistan is already in the radar range of the world corporate sector and this deal further lifts its image outside,” he said.

If finalised the Dutch takeover would boost Pakistan’s foreign direct investment statistics.

FDI was down by 57 percent to $336 million in Pakistan for the first seven months of the current financial year compared to the corresponding period in the last financial year ending June 2015.

Pakistan expects its economy to grow by 4.5 percent for the 2015-16 financial year due to lower oil prices, planned improvements in the energy supply, investment related to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), buoyant construction activity, and acceleration of credit growth.

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