UAE’s Network International plans Saudi expansion post-Covid

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The company expects yearly revenues to be down 17% to 20% in the 2020 fiscal year

UAE-based payment solutions provider Network International will push ahead with its plans to expand in Saudi Arabia as soon as restrictions of movement into the kingdom are eased, the company said in a trading and guidance update published on Monday.

In the update, the London-listed company said it plans to “recommence progress” on its entry into Saudi Arabia “as soon as is practicably possible.”

“Saudi Arabia remains a significant growth accelerator for the business, which we believe could become our second largest over time, requiring a total capital investment of $25m over an 18 to 24 month period,” the statement said.

According to Network International, total revenue for H1 is expected to stand at around $133 or $134 million, representing broadly flat year-on-year performance in Q1 and a 23 percent increase in Q12.

For the entire 2020 fiscal year, the company expects revenue declines of between 17 and 20 percent year-on-year. In the Middle East, Network International anticipates a gradual recovery of domestic spending throughout H2, but with little return of international spending.

The company also reported a 45 percent year-on-year increase in e-commerce volumes – excluding government and airlines – in Q2.

“We have continued to focus on supporting our customers and colleagues through this period,” said Network International CEO Simon Haslam.

“Whilst Covid-19 is causing some short term disruption, we are fortunate to be operating in high growth and fragmented digital payments markets, where we are seeing signs of an acceleration in underlying trends and the long term opportunity remains significant,” he added. “We remain confident in the industry fundamentals and our strategic approach, which remains unchanged.”

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