There were enough people in the region dining out or calling in orders to make up a health set of results for Americana in 2022. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Middle East’s biggest F&B operator, Americana Restaurants, plans to issue dividends of $103.5 million for the July-December 2022 period, and in line with the guidance. The payout will be confirmed once shareholders give the necessary approval at the general assembly, the date for which is to be set.

This is the first dividend announcement since the company went through its IPO and dual listing on ADX and Saudi Tadawul. Americana Restaurants had 2,183 restaurants running at the end of 2022 across the many brands that it has rights for, This includes 186 new openings for its 'power brands - KFC, Pizza Hut, Hardee’s and Krispy Kreme.

"The MENA region remains uniquely attractive for out-of-home dining, with strong macroeconomic tailwinds, a growing youth population and soaring urbanisation,' said Mohammed Alabbar, Chairman. "These dynamics, coupled with the cultural internationalism of our target markets, provides our business with a springboard for growth across MENA and Kazakhstan."

The company saw revenues climb 15.9 per cent to $2.38 billion, while net income came to $259.2 million, up by a healthy 27.1 per cent.

Fried chicken helps

Its KFC franchise contributed around 61 per cent of 2022 revenues in 2022 (at $1.5 billion) and 'crossing a record 100 million transactions for the first time'. Last year, KFC opened 54 new units, with expansion focused on Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the UAE.

In terms of top-line contributions, Hardee's and Pizza Hut came in second and third.

What next on the growth menu?

"Americana Restaurants’ near-term focus will be to leverage the strength of its platform to increase the penetration of existing brands, enter new categories and expand geographically, both organically and inorganically by entering new markets," said Alabbar. "The company will also continue to invest in restaurant redesigns and organisational efficiency to minimise capital recovery periods and maintain cost discipline.”

The UAE and Saudi F&B scene was particularly active, while Qatar's too put in some sizeable growth of its own during the FIFA World Cup.