Exclusive: E-commerce giant Souq.com eyes IPO in next 2 years

CEO of Middle East’s largest online retailer says going public is ‘next step’ after several successful funding rounds

Souq.com, the largest online retailer in the Middle East, is considering an initial public offering (IPO) in the next 18 months to two years, its CEO has said.

“Our midterm goal is to improve the scale of the business, and maybe beyond that, in the longer term, would be to start looking at an IPO,” Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO & co-founder of Souq.com, told Arabian Business.

“We have a lot of affinity from consumers and users and we always get inquiries in terms of how [they] can be a part of this journey and this success story of Souq - one of the ways would be maybe in the next 18  months to two years to look where a listing makes sense from an IPO perspective,” he said.

“Regarding capital, short-term we are in good shape, midterm and long-term [an IPO] would be the next step for Souq as the scale of the company would be quite sizable.”

“From an investment point of view, that would be the right approach after [raising] a sizeable fund,” the CEO said.

Mouchawar did not say how much of the company would be sold, or where it would be listed.

In February, the Dubai-based online retailer completed a funding round of more than $275 million, the largest financing of an e-commerce business in the region, from New York-based Tiger Global Management and South Africa’s Naspers Ltd, to support the company’s future growth.

Mouchawar said that the fund has been “invested in a bigger logistic infrastructure, [which has helped] raised capital and a part of that has gone into improving the infrastructure in the countries we work in, mainly Egypt and Saudi, where there’s a spread of population – the UAE tends to be small.”

“In this region, online [shopping] is still around 1.5 percent of total retail whereas globally this number is about 7 to 10 percent - we still see the growth opportunity,” he said. “Saudi continues to be one of our biggest markets.”

The e-commerce company, which covers 50 cities across the GCC and Egypt, is now adding more fashion categories to grow the selection on the platform.

“Health and beauty for us would be big category, along with electronics, but now home is becoming also very interesting,” Mouchawar said.

With around 2 million products already available on the site, the CEO said this number will double “over the next year and a half [with] more brands and more categories.”

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on arabianbusiness.com may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: Mohamad Jazar

unfortunately, when you read about them, they look professional, but when you deal with them and purchase any thing from them, you discover that they are not and all they say is media talk.

I dealt with them in Kuwait, they were unprofessional, bad service and they don't even answer their phones.

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Why the Qatar hacking incident has revived Gulf tensions

Why the Qatar hacking incident has revived Gulf tensions

Analysts say the incident was far more than a security breach...

The cost of cloud seeding in the UAE

The cost of cloud seeding in the UAE

As the country ramps up efforts to increase artificial rainfall...

Inside Google's brave new world

Inside Google's brave new world

The $500bn technology giant is extending its reach into hardware...

Most Discussed