Raya forges ahead

Egyptian IT conglomerate Raya Holding continues to flesh out its regional credentials with the expansion of its IT retail business into Algeria. Raya is also considering potential acquisition targets in both the US and Egypt.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  July 24, 2005

Egyptian IT conglomerate Raya Holding continues to flesh out its regional credentials with the expansion of its IT retail business into Algeria. Raya is also considering potential acquisition targets in both the US and Egypt. Medhat Khalil is a man on a mission. The chairman and CEO of Raya Holding has a clear vision of the company’s direction. After Raya’s successful recent flotation on the Egypt stock exchange, Khalil remains committed to developing its business units even further. Building on Raya’s strong IT retail operations in Egypt, the company has already embarked on an aggressive push into Algeria and will start opening new retail outlets there this month. Raya Holding currently has three main areas of operation: IT distribution, data telecommunications and IT services including systems integration, software development and call centre services. Raya raised US$30m through its flotation on the Egyptian stock exchange and is currently considering several possible acquisition targets. “We are examining the possibility of acquiring a small call centre in the US,” explained Khalil. “This is the right way for us to approach the market. The operation there would operate as the front-end and the overflow demand would come to Egypt. We are also assessing whether or not to acquire one of Egypt’s most successful software development companies. This is an area we want to be strong in.” Raya currently operates out of six offices in the Middle East and has representatives working in more than 15 countries. The company is in the process of opening an official office in Qatar and Khalil believes that building a genuine regional presence will play a pivotal role in Raya’s continued success. “Our plan is to derive at least 30% of Raya's net profits from outside Egypt in a couple of years time,” added Khalil. “Today we are around the 15% mark but all of the future expansion plans are based on achieving our goal.” Raya currently employs some 1,700 staff across the Arab world and Khalil expects this figure to top 2,000 by the end of the year. The company already employs 700 call centre service agents in Egypt serving a strong customer portfolio including Intel, Microsoft and Dell. “I would love to see a strong Arab company leading the way in the IT industry,” added Khalil. “Before Raya, 90% of the Arab market had been served by international companies. My dream is to put together a corporation that can lead and add value in the IT industry.”

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