Top UAE grocer Lulu to raise US$2.7b ahead of possible IPO

Lulu Group International, which operates one of the Middle East’s largest hypermarket chains, is raising 10 billion dirhams ($2.72 billion) to refinance debt ahead of a potential initial public offering, people familiar with the matter said. 

The conglomerate is borrowing the funds from Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank PJSC, Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC, Emirates NBD Bank PJSC and Mashreq Bank PSC, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. The loans have an average maturity of 10 years, they said. 

Abu Dhabi-based Lulu is realigning its capital structure before a possible listing in 2024 after delaying those plans this year, the people said. It is working with Moelis & Co. on the plans, the people said.

A representative for Lulu said the funds will allow the company “to pay off existing debts, further extend our footprint with 80 new hypermarkets across the GCC, Egypt and beyond, enhance supply chain networks and e-commerce capabilities.”

Lulu “is poised to capitalize on emerging opportunities and elevate its global presence to new heights with our IPO plans,” they said. 

Representatives for ADCB, ENBD and Mashreq declined to comment. DIB didn’t respond to requests for comments. 

Lulu was valued at more than $5 billion in 2020 when an investment firm backed by a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family bought a 20% stake worth just over $1 billion in the group. The company operates shopping malls and other businesses including hospitality, shipping and real estate. 

The firm founded by Indian entrepreneur Yusuff Ali in the early 1990s during a years-long oil boom in the Gulf region. It had an annual revenue of about $8 billion and employs more than 65,000 people and in 23 countries across the Middle East, Asia, the US, and Europe, according to its website. –BLOOMBERG