Emaar Malls snaps up online retailer stake

24 May 2017

Dubai-based malls operator has acquired 51 per cent shareholding in Namshi

Emaar Malls, the shopping malls and retail arm of the UAE’s biggest property develop Emaar Properties, has signed an agreement with the Global Fashion Group (GFG) to acquire a majority stake in its fashion e-commerce platform.

Emaar Malls is investing $151m for a 51 per cent stake in Namshi, which includes future growth capital of the firm. The deal is expected to be closed within three months and GFG will retain the remaining shareholding in the company, Emaar Malls said in a statement to Dubai Financial Market (DFM) where its shares are traded.

The partnership will support Namshi to access additional fashion brands, further develop its logistics infrastructure and expand its geographical footprint in other countries of the region.

Namshi will continue to rely on GFG’s network and shared resources such as global brand acquisition and global IT development and innovation. Launched in 2012, it offers a range of over 50,000 products across more than 600 international and local fashion brands as well as its own private labels. The company, which serves over 750,000 customers across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain.

For the full year 2016, the Namshi recorded net revenue of AED555m ($151m) reported its first full-year profit with positive cash flows.

“The acquisition of a majority stake in Namshi underlines our digital-driven strategy to leverage the growing e-commerce market in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region,” Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Malls said.

Alabbar, who is also the chairman of Emaar Properties, is separately pursuing his own e-commerce entrepreneurial ambitions. His upcoming venture Noon.com is scaling up its operations and recruitment in Riyadh prior to its launch, which has been delayed by nearly five months.

Alabbar earlier this month said that the launch is expected soon, following the development of the platform’s beta programme. The company, which is 50 per cent owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Public Invetsment Fund (PIF) has moved its operational headquarter to the kingdom’s capital.

The platform promises to offer 20 million products ranging from electronics to fashion and books, among others.

Online shopping platforms have received increased attention from private equity investors and international online retailers in recent months, who seek to capitalise on rapid digitisation and fast-paced growth of e-commerce sector in the wider Mena region. Emaar Malls earlier this year made an unsuccessful bid to acquire UAE-based Souq.com, which was later bought by US-based Amazon in late March.

 

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