The UAE-Saudi alliance is here to stay, handshake
UAE investors have been channeling sizeable commitments into the food space, with Abu Dhabi corporate heavyweight IHC making a $2.1 billion bid for a stake in one of Colombia's biggest food processing companies. Image Credit: Pixabay

Dubai: A UAE investor, Saif Alketbi, has bought a 43 per cent stake in Fortenova Group, the biggest producer and retailer of foodstuffs in Croatia. The stake was sold by one of Russia’s biggest banks, Sberbank, which holds a third of that country’s aggregate banking sector assets.

The value of the 43 per cent stake sale was not disclosed by Sberbank. Saif Alketbi, the bank says, has ‘significant investments in real estate, technology and holds significant investments through private equity deals’.

The Fortenova Group has more than 100 brands in its portfolio and had more than 4 billion euros as revenue in 2021.

Investments in the food space has been a top priority for UAE investors in the recent past, with the likes of Abu Dhabi’s IHC (International Holding Co.) launching a $2.1 billion bid for a sizeable stake in Colombia’s food processing group Grupo Nutresa. (IHC recently received the Colombian regulator approval to put in its bid.)

There have also been multiple investments by UAE based entities in expanding the farming base in the country, plus funding of agtech startups that come up with solutions to help farming in extreme arid climates. Dubai last year also launched the ‘Food Tech Valley’, a hub for ventures in the food space.

Sberbank shareholding
Russia's Ministry of Finance is the principal shareholder in Sberbank, owning 50% plus one voting share of the bank’s authorized capital, with the remaining 50% minus one voting share held by domestic and international investors.

In Russia, the bank has around 14,000 branches.