Mideast ride-hailing firm Careem acquires RoundMenu to trial food delivery

Ride-sharing app Careem said in June it would accelerate expansion plans after raising $500 million from investors. (Reuters)
Updated 20 February 2018
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Mideast ride-hailing firm Careem acquires RoundMenu to trial food delivery

LONDON: Careem, a major Middle East competitor to Uber, has acquired RoundMenu and plans to trial food-delivery services using the restaurant listing and reservation platform.

It is unclear as yet how much the Dubai-based ride-hailing firm paid for the RoundMenu website and app.

RoundMenu has raised $3.1 million in funding since it launched in 2012, Careem said in a statement. RoundMenu was first funded and launched by HoneyBee Tech Ventures, followed later by other institutional investment from BECO Capital, Horeca Trade and Middle East Venture Partners.

“It is a good outcome for all parties after five years of seeding this venture. It’s particularly good for the ecosystem to see acquisitions emerging by local tech players,” Ihsan Jawad, partner at HoneyBee Tech Ventures, told Arab News.

Careem itself has raised more than $570 million over six rounds of funding since it launched — also in 2012. According to some estimates Careem is now valued at more than $1.2 billion.

RoundMenu is available in 18 cities across nine Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt, according to its website, partly matching Careem’s MENA-wide offering of 90 cities across 13 countries in the broader region.

“Careem will begin testing a delivery capability for RoundMenu customers on a small scale later this month,” the company told media in a statement.

Competition for such a service is high in the region, with Talabat, Zomato, UberEats and Deliveroo all offering similar home delivery options.

Other acquisitions by Careem include Morocco-based taxi company, Taxii, in May 2015 and Saudi address-coding service Enwani in June 2015.

In July 2017, it took a minority stake in an Egyptian start-up that connects commuters with private buses in Cairo.


First Abu Dhabi Bank to start commercial banking in Saudi Arabia this year

Updated 52 min 12 sec ago
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First Abu Dhabi Bank to start commercial banking in Saudi Arabia this year

  • FAB is the latest foreign bank attracted by openings in Saudi Arabia
  • It had already completed its first debt capital markets transaction in the kingdom through its investment banking business

DUBAI: First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the largest lender in the UAE by assets, said on Monday it will launch commercial banking operations in Saudi Arabia by the end of this year.
The bank, which was granted a commercial banking license in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, has been expanding its staff in the kingdom as it seeks to benefit from the government’s drive to move the economy beyond oil revenues.
It appointed Abdullah Abubakr as head of private banking in Saudi Arabia as of this month, according to his LinkedIn page.
FAB did not respond to a request for comment on his appointment.
FAB is the latest foreign bank attracted by openings in Saudi Arabia. The bank said it had already completed its first debt capital markets transaction in the kingdom through its investment banking business. In February, it was granted a license to conduct arranging and advising activities in the securities business. The bank also on Monday reported a 16 percent rise in third quarter net profit as net interest income and fees and commissions edged higher.
FAB made a net profit of 3.02 billion dirhams ($822 million) in the three months ending Sept. 30, up from 2.61 billion dirhams in the prior-year period, it said in a statement. SICO Bahrain had forecast FAB’s quarterly profit at 2.87 billion dirhams.
FAB’s performance was helped by lower net impairment charges during the quarter, with impairments falling 23 percent to 435 million dirhams. Loans and advances rose to 354 billion dirhams as of Sept. 30, up 8 percent from the same period of last year. Deposits totaled 455 billion dirhams, up 20 percent from a year earlier.