September 8, 2019 / 8:04 AM / 15 days ago

Egypt's Fawry eyes UAE deal, Saudi and Kuwaiti markets

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian digital payments company Fawry FWRY.CA plans to expand into the United Arab Emirates by the end of the year and also hopes to enter Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in 2020, its managing director said.

The headquarters of Fawry Company "Online Payment Portal" are pictured in Cairo, Egypt, September 5, 2019. REUTERS/Ehab Farouk

Founded in 2009, Fawry offers digital payments to companies and individuals in Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous nation, where many do not have a bank account.

Mohamed Okasha told Reuters that Fawry, which made a stock market debut in August, planned to complete a deal with one of the largest listed UAE banks to use its technology platform in the Gulf country.

He declined to identify the bank or value of the deal.

“We are looking at Arab countries where many Egyptians live whom we can offer many services such as bill payments,” he said. “We hope to enter the Saudi and Kuwaiti markets in 2020,” he added, without giving more details.

Okasha said Fawry, which is owned by local and foreign investment funds and dominates the Egyptian market, had no plans to expand to Africa, as speculated by some analysts.

“Egypt is a huge market with 100 million people. We don’t find an African market as large as that. We still find big growth chances (in Egypt),” he said.

The firm invests between 250 million pounds and 300 million pounds annually from their own resources. It plans to have 300 “Fawry plus” branches, which offer most services, within five years, compared to 70 now, he said. It also has 105,000 service points.

Fawry handles around 2.1 million transactions daily and collected 40 billion pounds ($2.43 billion) last year, according to its website. It has around 20 million customers.

Its share price has risen to around 10.24 pounds from the debut of 6.46 pounds.

Reporting by Ehab Farouk and Ulf Laessing; editing by David Evans and Aidan Lewis

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