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Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Swvl to enter Chile, Argentina with Viapool acquisition

Homegrown mass transport startup Swvl will enter Latin America for the first time with the acquisition of a controlling stake in transit company Viapool, which operates in Argentina and Chile, according to a company statement yesterday. The transaction values Viapool at around USD 10 mn, a source familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. Neither party disclosed details of the agreement.

This is the first time Swvl will run its own marketplace on the continent, having had a soft entry earlier this year with its acquisition of Spanish firm Shotl, which operates its on-demand SaaS platform in Brazil. “It’s very significant for us because it’s our first entry into LatAm with our own marketplace,” Swvl CFO Youssef Salem told us yesterday. “Viapool is the market leader in these two countries … and these are very attractive markets.”

Viapool has an impressive client list: The company has more than 80 corporate clients, including Unilever, Nestle and Siemens.

The acquisition is expected to close in 1Q2022, the statement said.

Nasdaq debut upcoming: Swvl announced in July it would go public on the Nasdaq in 4Q2021 through a merger with blank-check firm Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital. The agreement values the company at around USD 1.5 bn and the listing will raise the company’s capital to USD 550 mn from USD 100+ mn.

Listing to fund big investment plans: The company plans to invest USD 250-300 mn over the next three years to expand its global footprint after it goes public. “We will continue to rapidly pursue strategic initiatives to further enhance shareholder value and capitalize on the synergies of our global platform,” Salem said in the statement.

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