UAE-based logistics company Aramex is planning at least two more acquisitions over the next quarter, but the company’s main focus for 2012 will be on integration and consolidation.
“We are planning a couple of small acquisitions, one in east Africa, another in southeast Asia. Apart from these small ones, this year will not be an acquisition year,” says Fadi Ghandour, founder and chief executive officer at Aramex, while speaking on the sidelines of the Global Competitiveness Forum in Riyadh on 22 January.
The acquisitions currently under negotiation are worth less than $10m. The east Africa acquisition is expected to be concluded by the end of the first quarter, the other is “in the pipeline and needs a lot of work”, says Ghandour.
This follows a recent acquisition in December 2011 of South African logistics and transportation company Berco Express, in a deal worth $55.5m. Aramex also acquired two Kenyan-based courier firms in the first quarter of 2011.
“This year will be a bit better than last year, we are cautiously optimistic, we need to watch what happens in the economies of the region and see what happens in Iraq and in Syria, and how it will affect Lebanon,” says Ghandour.
The lack of certainty in the region has shifted Aramex’s focus to Africa.
“Africa is our main focus now, we will be in 25 countries in the coming two years and we are already in 15 [countries] other than the North African countries. We will do a lot more in Africa: either greenfield start-ups or some very small acquisitions so that we can buy a platform and build it,” says Ghandour.
Aramex was founded in 1982 and is listed on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM).