Retail channel consolidates as mobile phone distributor swallows CompuMe

i2 Group and CompuMe reveal dramatic plans to spend US$35m on opening new retail stores in the Middle East and Africa following conclusion of share swap deal.

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By  Administrator Published  March 1, 2007

Saudi-registered mobile phone distributor and retailer i2 Group has acquired specialist computer retailer CompuMe through a share swap deal.

The combined entity immediately becomes one of the largest providers of telecoms, digital electronics and IT products in the Middle East and Africa.

The merger will also pave the way for the launch of new multi-concept stores, with i2 revealing that it plans to spend US$35m on opening an additional 150 retail outlets in the Middle East and Africa region during the next three years.

In addition, the existing 340 i2 retail stores will be revisited for planned refurbishments to include a range of IT and electronic product offerings. "This is a momentous occasion for i2 Group as we pursue our expansion plan to be the largest retailer covering 30 countries," declared Abdul Hameed Al Sunaid, CEO of i2 Group.

"Undoubtedly, i2 is the only electronics, telecommunications, and IT retailer with an extensive network that spans across the Middle East and Africa," he added.

i2 and CompuMe have been closely linked since 2005 when i2 and Dikran Tchablakian - vice chairman at CompuMe - bought the UAE operations of CompuMe retail outlets from CompuMe British Virgin Islands through a 60-40 partnership.

Tchablakian has now been appointed senior VP at i2 Group and will be in charge of the retail operations. He was one of the pioneers of Sakhr, a highly successful Arabic hardware and software business based in Saudi Arabia before creating CompuMe in 1998 with franchise outlets in UAE, Saudi, Egypt and Bahrain.

CompuMe expects sales to increase 30% year-on-year to more than US$100m in 2007.

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