The deal will see L Capital Asia, a Singapore-based private equity firm backed by LVMH, take a minority stake in Bateel, according to media reports. Neither Bateel or L Capital Asia have formally commented on the sale, but did release a statement announcing a partnership between the two firms.
“With the world seeking healthier and newer options, we believe the Bateel franchise has tremendous potential, and we hope to work closely with the company to take the brand to more people across the globe,” said Ravi Thakran, chairman and managing partner of L Capital Asia, adding that few local Middle East brands had been able to define a position in the luxury marketplace.
“Bateel has been a tremendous success with its origins in the Middle East. Not only have they created a unique branded packaged goods proposition for dates which were traditionally viewed as a commodity product, but also deliver a world-class café experience with a flavour of the Middle East through the Bateel cafés,” he added.
Ata Atmar, managing director of Bateel, said Bateel had been working with Thakran and L Capital Asia over the last few years, adding that he looked forward to making use of their knowledge of and passion for premium brands.
Developing the brand
“Leveraging our partner and [its] vast experience in marketing and management of iconic brands around the world will provide a strong platform to compete in the gourmet confectionery, and premium café markets,” said Atmar.
“The partnership with L Capital Asia is a very welcome development, coming at an important juncture in Bateel’s corporate life cycle. We have built a premium brand with a strong market position and robust growth prospects. With a well-defined and tested business model and a strong production and distribution infrastructure in place, we are poised to accelerate Bateel’s expansion beyond our current core markets in the Gulf,” he added.
Bateel developed from selling only dates in its native Saudi Arabia to offering a range of chocolate and confectionery products, many of them date-based. It now has a presence in 16 markets across the Middle East, Europe and Asia, distributes its products through vendors such as Harrods and Fortnum & Masons, and operates a number of shops and cafes across the Gulf.
LVMH, formerly known as LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton, controls a large swathe of the world’s luxury brands, from its eponymous champagne, spirits and fashion divisions, to many other high-end beverage brands such as Krug, Glenmorangie and Chateau d’Yquem. L Capital Asia is managed independently of LVMH, but has a “strong alignment of interest” with LVMH’s business strategy.