‘Share swap’ deal sees i2 extend CE retail arm
Company reveals plans to open 150 new stores across region in next three years.
Saudi distributor i2 has acquired specialist computer retailer CompuMe to make its consumer electronics retail arm the most expansive in the region.
The deal gives i2 control of CompuMe’s UAE business as well as the franchise stakes CompuMe owns in Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi. The tie-up was announced as i2 revealed plans to open a further 150 retail outlets across the region over the next three years costing the company over US$35 million.
i2 currently boasts a regional retail presence of over 340 consumer electronics outlets in a total of 22 countries.
The company also claims it is now the biggest sole provider of combined consumer electronics, IT-based and mobile handset products throughout the Middle East and Africa. i2 indicated that its expansion programme would target African markets, such as the Ivory Coast and Senegal, in 2007.
“This is a momentous occasion for the i2 Group as we pursue our goal of becoming the largest consumer electronics retailer in the region,” said Abdul Hameed Al Sunaid, CEO of the i2 Group.
“Undoubtedly, i2 is the only consumer electronics, telecommunications, and IT retailer network that spans the Middle East and Africa,” he added.
According to recently-published financial results, i2 posted revenues of US$1.3 billion for 2006 - up from US$387 million during 2005. The company forecasts sales of US$3.2 billion for 2007.
Dikram Tchablakian, vice chairman of CompuMe Limited, will take up the position of senior vice president of the i2 Group in addition to his current role.
The agreement between the two companies comes two years after Tchablakian entered into a partnership with i2 to acquire CompuMe’s UAE operations. At the time, the deal saw Tchablakian holding 40% of the business with i2 controlling the remaining share.
“This move was originally prompted by i2 seeking to develop its presence in the UAE’s consumer electronics and IT retail sector,” said Tchablakian. He claimed that some of i2’s top partners - particularly Nokia - welcomed the partnership as the Middle East market now commands enhanced levels of service in the ICT retail sector.
“A lot of sophisticated goods are coming to the market - this requires an ideal environment for products such as phones with multimedia and e-mail functionalities. i2 elected to link up with CompuMe given its stellar reputation among UAE consumers. From that perspective i2 and CompuMe are a good match,” he added.
Tchablakian will also drive the customisation of new ‘multi-concept’ outlets that i2 is planning.