STOCK Americana
Among the roster of Americana Restaurant brands, KFC provided the highest share of 2023 revenues, with $1.47 billion. Pizza Hut served up $281 million and Krispy Kreme another $98 million. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Americana Restaurants, the Middle East’s biggest F&B player, is offering a one-time additional dividend totalling $50 million ($0.0059) over and above the $130 million payout (at $0.015 a share) for 2023. The proposal will be put to vote at the upcoming annual general meeting.

The extra dividend Americana is putting up could be a sweetener for its stock price, say analysts. The stock, listed on ADX and Saudi Tadawul, has been through a 19 per cent drop over last 12 months.

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Incidentally, Americana has one of the highest foreign shareholder participation – at 73.47 per cent – among UAE stocks. UAE Nationals hold 2.79 per cent and GCC nationals another 23.58 per cent.

With adjusted free cash flow of $182.8 million and cash conversion ratio of 52.1%, Americana Restaurants exhibits a strong financial stability that enables it to pursue growth objectives, fulfil its capital expenditure obligations and support the dividend policy

- Statement from Americana Restaurants on 2024 prospects

Emphasis on ‘resilient’

The company, which has regional franchises for KFC, Pizza Hut and Krispy Krème, had 2023 revenues of $2.41 billion, a 1.5 per cent growth over 2022. Top-line numbers were helped by a further 300 new locations, while net profit remained flat at $259.5 million.

At the end of the first nine months of 2023, the company's revenue tally was $1.89 billion. 

The numbers come against the backdrop of a highly charged geopolitical situation, set off by the Gaza conflict. "The company demonstrated resilient performance, despite $106 million impact of unfavourable foreign exchange movements, especially in Egypt, and impact on business during the fourth quarter due to recent regional geopolitical tensions," said a statement.

Through the final 3 months of 2024, in various Middle East markets, the Gaza situation did leave its ripples on consumer spending patterns. "Amid evolving market dynamics, the company demonstrated financial and operational resilience, positioning itself for continued growth," said the statement.

Americana 'remains focused on expansion and penetration through strategic growth opportunities', it added.

Last year, the capex was $167.9 million - or 7 per cent of revenues - and which was deployed for the 300 new restaurants. This brought the total network size to 2,435 locations as at end 2023, 'enhancing the reach of renowned brands'. There was also the launch of Peet's Coffee in the region, with stores in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, a 'strategic move aimed at leveraging the growing demand for premium coffee'.