Press Release

January 09, 2024

Gulf Capital Closes Strategic Sale of AmCan, the largest MENA Sports Nutrition Distributor, to a Leading Regional Distribution Firm in a Highly Profitable Exit for its Third Buyout Fund

Gulf Capital (“GC”), one of the largest private equity firms investing from the GCC to the rest of Asia, announced today that it has successfully completed the sale of 100% of AmCan, the exclusive distributor of many of the top global sports nutrition brands across the MENA region, to a leading regional FMCG distributor operating across the Middle East and Africa.  This highly profitable and strategic sale comes on the heel of another successful exit of a food distribution firm, Chef Middle East (“Chef ME”), the GCC’s premier foodservice distribution business, which was sold to The Chefs’ Warehouse, a Nasdaq-listed specialty food distributor operating across North America.

As a thematic investor, Gulf Capital invested in AmCan in 2016 from its third buyout fund, GC Equity Partners III, to gain exposure to the fast-growing wellness and sports and nutrition supplements market in the GCC. The global sports nutrition market grew from $35.95 billion in 2022 to $39.56 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.1% according to Research and Markets. The market is expected to grow to $58.29 billion in 2027 at a CAGR of 10.2%. The sports nutrition industry in the Gulf is expected to continue growing at an expected 20%, twice the global average growth rate. Drivers of this double-digit growth include increasing demographics, rapid urbanisation, high online connectivity, high disposable income, growing health awareness among consumers, and introduction of new ingredients in sports nutrition products, and a growing trend for adopting a healthier lifestyle. 

During Gulf Capital’s ownership, AmCan grew its revenues and gross margin by more than 50%. To achieve these strong results, AmCan expanded geographically by leveraging its exclusive regional agencies, deepened its market reach by investing in operating processes and tools and strengthened its distribution model with optimised working capital and enhanced trading terms. Moreover, AmCan capitalised on its superior knowledge and understanding of its customers’ behaviours to introduce new brands and products that are witnessing exponential sales growth. This remarkable performance is a strong testament to the operational improvement capabilities at Gulf Capital and its deep bench of operating partners and industry advisors.

Dr. Karim El Solh, Co-Founder and CEO of Gulf Capital, said: “As a thematic investor, our investment in Amcan was underpinned by the secular trends and shifts in consumer behaviour that continue to fuel the growth of the health and wellness sector across the Middle East. The disciplined execution of our value creation plan by AmCan’s management team and Gulf Capital’s operating partners have allowed AmCan to cement and expand its market leading position in the region with continued improvement of its operating metrics and overall profitability. We are very proud of the remarkable growth of AmCan during Gulf Capital’s ownership period and of the strong returns we have delivered to our Third Buyout Fund investors. This control growth buyout with a deep focus on operational improvement and earnings’ growth, followed by a highly successful sale to a regional strategic buyer, is a great illustration of Gulf Capital’s unique investment strategy in our high growth region.”

Mohammad Madani, Managing Director at Gulf Capital, said: “The AmCan investment is another great example of Gulf Capital’s strategy of acquiring controlling stakes in a market leader in a high growth sector, expanding the business into new geographies, enlarging product offering, and growing EBITDA through operational improvements. We are thrilled with the successful closing of this sale to a regional strategic buyer, as we believe AmCan will find in its new owner the financial support, operational expertise, and depth of network that will take it to new heights. We would like to thank our esteemed partner over the years, Firas Odeh, AmCan’s Founder and CEO, AmCan’s management team, and the new owner for their efforts in successfully closing this transaction, and we wish them all the best on their next chapter of growth.” 

Gulf Capital was advised by Global Gate Capital, Eversheds Sutherland and PwC on this strategic sale. The buyer was advised by Nucleus Consulting and Ashurst.