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.


Etihad proposes to invest in Jet Airways at 49% discount

Updated 16 January 2019
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Etihad proposes to invest in Jet Airways at 49% discount

  • The 25-year-old Indian airline has been roiled by financial difficulties, racking up a pile of dues to pilots, lessors and vendors
  • Jet will not be able to continue funding operations beyond the next week and Etihad is willing to inject $35 million if some conditions are met

Etihad Airways has offered to pick up shares of debt-laden Indian carrier Jet Airways Ltd. at a 49 percent discount and to immediately release $35 million after certain conditions are met, CNBC-TV18 reported on Wednesday.
Shares of Jet Airways, in which Etihad already owns a 24 percent stake, tumbled as much as 7.5 percent to 271.75 rupees ($3.83) in their biggest intraday drop since early December.
The Abu Dhabi carrier has offered 150 rupees for each Jet share, CNBC-TV18 said, citing a letter from Etihad’s CEO.
Tony Douglas has written to the State Bank of India (SBI) , Jet’s biggest lender, on the restructuring plan for the Indian airline, the report added.
The 25-year-old Indian airline has been roiled by financial difficulties, racking up a pile of dues to pilots, lessors and vendors, at a time when intense pricing competition, a weak rupee and rising fuel costs are weighing on the broader airline sector in the country.
Jet will not be able to continue funding operations beyond the next week and Etihad is willing to inject $35 million if some conditions are met, the CNBC-TV18 report cited Douglas as saying in his letter.
Jet and Etihad representatives are due to meet in Mumbai with lenders, led by SBI, on Wednesday to discuss the restructuring proposal that involves Etihad increasing its stake, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Etihad wants Jet’s founder and Chairman, 69-year-old Naresh Goyal to step down from the board and his stake to be slashed to 22 percent from 51 percent, according to CNBC-TV18.
Goyal’s penchant for control, according to people who have worked with him, has emerged as a major obstacle as the airline tries to negotiate a rescue deal, Reuters reported last month.
Etihad is also seeking an exemption from the market regulator on preference pricing and open offer guidelines to invest more for the bailout, the report added.
Under India’s capital markets regulations, Etihad is required to make an open offer to shareholders for a majority of the shares once its stake goes past 25 percent, unless it obtains a rare exemption from the market regulator.
India Ministry of Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey on Wednesday told reporters that the aviation ministry had not yet received an official request from Jet and Etihad for an exemption from an open offer.
Jet and Etihad were not immediately available for comment.