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Etisalat Group Acquires UAE’s elgrocer

Emirates Telecommunications Group Company PJSC “Etisalat Group”  signed an agreement with elgrocerLtd to acquire 100 percent of elgrocer DMCC, to support its digital ambitions by enriching its services bringing it closer to the daily lives of the consumers, and unlocking synergies that drive a diversified and integrated product portfolio. 

Founded in 2015, elGrocer is a leading online marketplace for groceries operating in all seven Emirates of the UAE. It brings together major retailers and specialty stores on a single platform with more than 500+ outlets and 120K products listed. 

Despite a slower H1’2021 and a 10-deal drop in deals since full-year 2020, the E-commerce industry in MENA picked up by Q3 2021, raising $71M more than total capital deployed in the full year 2020. As recorded in our Q3 2021 EVM E-commerce Venture Investment Report, the UAE observed a rather conservative YoY funding growth of 6% by Q3 2021,  in congruence with a general slump in E-commerce funding compared to its peer industries like FinTechor Transport & Logistics. Nontraditional E-commmerce startups focused on diversified or niche markets closed major rounds in 2021, including the likes of fashion and luxury fashion marketplaces The Luxury Closet and eyewa, amidst great traction for automobile marketplaces with AI-driven car market place Seez, car part market place Odiggo, and car care platform Mysyararaising some of the highest rounds this year. The shift in focus of investors to specialized E-commerce ventures along with exits in mass E-commerce like elgrocer show signs of maturity of the booming digital ecosystem in UAE and MENA. 

With UAE ranked as one of the highest globally in terms of smart device penetration and rated as one of the most advanced countries for online shopping and E-Commerce market in MENA, this acquisition will contribute to the growing digital economy in the country.  Khaled ElKhouly, Chief Consumer Officer of Etisalat UAE said: “Online shopping has redefined retail in the last decade with an increasing number of consumers moving to online transactions. Considering Etisalat’s  leadership role in the acceleration of UAE’s digital transformation, we have been continuously working on  new, innovative digital services and this acquisition is in line with our strategy to empower consumers,  enhance engagement through our digital marketplace platform and drive diversification of our business.” 

elGrocer’s strong online presence in the country will complement Etisalat UAE’s existing marketplace services under the brand ‘Smiles’ including online food delivery, lifestyle offers, and the ability to earn and redeem points at more than 7,000 outlets across the UAE.  Raed Hafez CEO of elGrocer stated “We are excited to join forces with Etisalat team giving us the opportunity to tap into their digital capabilities, advanced network, and services to accelerate our strategic expansion plans. Combining our strengths backed by Etisalat’s strong base will give us full strength to  capture the market opportunities ahead.” 

In addition, elGrocer has strategic partnerships with major global and local FMCG companies for collaborations and innovative strategies to drive exposure to their brands. Nader Amiri, Founder & COO of elGrocer added: “We started the elGrocer journey to bring a new & superb grocery shopping experience to people in the UAE, and we are proud of what we have achieved so far.  Now, we start a new chapter combining what we have built with Etisalat’s innovative services & Smiles’s powerful offering, as we look forward to providing customers with even more delightful experiences and  benefits.”