Profits at Kuwait Food Co. fell in the first quarter of the year despite higher sales.

Net profit dropped 12.3% to KWD15.2m (US$50.4m) for the three months ending 31 March.

Operating profit declined 8.8% to KWD21.2m.

The company, which trades under the Americana brand, said the fall in profits came from higher operating expenses and foreign exchange losses.

However, group sales for the period rose 1% to KWD242m. 

The sales increase came from both its business units – foodservice and packaged foods to the retail sector. 

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Sales in its packaged foods business rose from KWD95m to KWD96.5m. In its foodservice arm, sales grew from KWD144.5m to KWD145.5m.

Earlier this year Kuwait Food Co. agreed to sell a 69% stake in the business to Dubai-based investor group, Adeptio, subject to due diligence. There had been speculation since April 2014 its majority shareholder, the al-Kharafi family was on the look-out for a buyer of the stake it held.

In January last year, Kuwait Food Co.’s majority shareholder, Al Khair National for Stocks and Real Estate Co., owned by the al-Kharafi family, confirmed the company was still in talks with “several parties” regarding a sale of its stake after media reports claimed a sale was close to being put on hold as talks were faltering, partly due to differences on price. Media reports since 2014 had suggested Saudi’s Savola Group and private-equity firms KKR and CVC had all expressed interest in the company.