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Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Swvl suspends service in Alexandria

Bye, Alexandria: Cairo-born mass transport app Swvl has suspended all its routes within the city of Alexandria as part of ongoing efforts to cut costs, Swvl CFO Youssef Salem confirmed to Enterprise. The company announced in May a raft of measures to reduce overheads in a bid to turn cashflow-positive in 2023, including slashing a third of its workforce, imposing cuts on executive pay, and scrapping unprofitable routes.

You can still use Swvl to get to — and in some cases around — Alex: Intercity routes between Cairo and Alexandria will continue, Salem said — and you can use those routes to get around in Alex, Salem said. “On a Cairo-Alexandria route, there will be multiple stops inside Alexandria and you can book any segment on the trip from any stop to another,” he explained. Swvl will also still run its B2B service for private companies in the city, he said.

Swvl could resume its Alex service next year “once we turn profitable,” Salem said, adding that the Cairo intracity service has been more profitable for the app than that in Alexandria.

Your Sahel vacation is not canceled: Swvl’s decision will not impact routes to and from Sahel, Salem said. “Cairo-Sahel routes are separate as they take the Wadi Al Natroun route [so] they don't go to Alexandria,” he said.

There will be no further job cuts on the back of the move: All of Swvl’s intracity Alexandria drivers will be moved to intercity B2C, and B2B routes, Salem said.

The company is not planning to make any further cuts to routes in Egypt, he said. Cairo is now the only city in which Swvl operates intracity routes, while the company continues to operate intercity B2B and B2C trips in all other governorates, he added.

Swvl is trying to become a leaner machine amid tough times for tech startups. The app’s shares have plunged by over 75% since it debuted on Nasdaq in April, as tech stocks bear the brunt of rising risk-off sentiment in global markets. The company is now trying to focus on its most profitable transport-as-a-service (TaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) streams in its relatively higher-earning markets.

But there’s no rest for acquisitions: The news comes days after Swvl announced its fourth acquisition of the year. The company bought Mexico-based transport firm Urbvan Mobility in a share-swap agreement, giving it access to the second most populated country in Latin America. The company has continued to pursue global expansion through acquisitions of competitors in Spain, Chile and Argentina, Turkey, Germany, and the UK.

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