QATAR – Baladna Food Industries, Qatar’s largest dairy and beverage company will launch an initial public offering  (IPO) this month, that could raise 1.426 billion riyals (US$392 million).

In the IPO, the company plans to sell 75% of its share capital on the Qatar Stock Exchange, whose proceeds will be used to strengthen the company’s balance sheet, reports Reuters.

According to a statement issued by the company, strategic investors including the General Retirement and Social Insurance Authority and local food companies have committed to buying 23%, while the Qatari public will have access to the remaining 52%.

General Retirement and Social Insurance Authority  plan to acquire 10 percent while local companies such as Hassad Food (5 percent), Al Meera (4 percent), Mwani Qatar (2 percent), and Widam Food Company (2 percent) among others.

The company said that the IPO opens for subscription on October 27 and closes on November 7, with the first day of trading at QSE expected on December 11, 2019.

“BFI already enjoys an unparalleled position in Qatar as a market leader with growing exports and increasing economies of scale,” Chief Executive Officer Kamel Abdallah said.

“We look forward to continued growth as Baladna leads the way towards real sustainability for Qatar as part of the Qatar National Food Security Programme,” Abdallah said.

Baladna was incorporated in 2014 following a trade embargo by Saudi Arabia and its allies and has progressively built the company into Qatar’s largest dairy and beverage firm.

The company flew in thousands of Holstein cows after the blockade in 2017 and Baladna’s rapid expansion since then has helped Qatar achieve self-sufficiency in dairy products that it previously mostly used to import.

Baladna operates its dairy business in in two farms spread over a total area of more than 2 million square meters housing approximately 18,000 herds of cows.

Baladna has over the past year expanded beyond dairy into juice production and shipped out its first exports, to Afghanistan, Yemen, and Oman.

Baldana resources include its own plastic factory and on-site packaging/bottling plants, a water treatment facility to meet farm operation needs, a feed storage facility with a six-month reserve capacity, and state-of-the-art facilities including the most advanced milking parlour in the region.