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Strategic growth: Funds Saudi acquires AutoWorld


United International Transportation Company, or Budget Saudi, a comprehensive mobility solutions provider in the Kingdom, has announced the acquisition of Al-Jazira Equipment Company, known as AutoWorld, a SEDCO Holding owned vehicle leasing company.

Budget Saudi’s shareholders voted in favor of the acquisition at the Extraordinary General Assembly held on June 24. This landmark decision marks a significant milestone in Budget Saudi’s history and paves the way for strategic expansion in a dynamic market poised for healthy growth.

Following the approval of the shareholders at the EGM, 7 million ordinary shares paid in full will be issued by Budget Saudi to SEDCO Holding and are expected to start trading on the Saudi Exchange upon completion of the necessary procedures with the exchange and Securities Depository Center Company. The new shares represent 8.96 percent of Budget Saudi’s share capital after the capital increase. Once the new shares are issued in favor of SEDCO Holding, a Saudi Shariah institutional investor with deep experience and a strong track record of investing in national champions, it will directly and indirectly own 8.96 percent of Budget Saudi. AutoWorld’s shares will be transferred from SEDCO Holding to Aljozoor Alrasekha, a Budget Saudi wholly owned subsidiary.

Fawaz Danish, president and group CEO, Budget Saudi, said: “The strategic acquisition of AutoWorld provides a robust platform for future growth opportunities, bolstered by the strong Saudi real economy, structural changes in the transportation sector, and the flourishing tourism industry. This deal, the first-of-its-kind in Budget Saudi’s history, enables us to lay the groundwork for strategic initiatives that drive sustainable growth, enhance competitiveness, and create shareholder value.”

With this acquisition, Budget Saudi will solidify its position as a market leader in the long-term vehicle rental and leasing market in the Kingdom. According to a credible third-party market report, the acquisition will increase the company’s market share from 12 to 18 percent approximately. AutoWorld’s fleet size of 14,000 vehicles brings Budget Saudi’s total car leasing fleet to 49,300 (based on FY 2023 figures), representing a strategic move to consolidate Saudi Arabia’s auto leasing market and enhance service quality in the evolving transportation sector.

Moreover, this acquisition reinforces Budget Saudi’s market share in the business-to-business and business-to-government segments, where its management foresees significant growth potential driven by a market shift from asset ownership to usership models. Additionally, it enhances its ability to set competitive pricing, improving overall profitability in the mid- to long-term.

The acquisition is set to expand Budget Saudi’s customer base, granting access to new customers in key industry verticals such as oil and gas, among others where AutoWorld has a strong presence. By acquiring a competitor with a complementary fleet and service offerings, Budget Saudi can diversify its portfolio, catering to a broader range of customer needs and preferences. This diversification helps mitigate risks associated with market fluctuations and changing consumer preferences.

Post-acquisition, Budget Saudi plans to merge its Payless brand, a short-term car rental business, with AutoWorld, to tap into more price-conscious customers, including residents, business travelers, and leisure travelers, further diversifying and growing its customer portfolio.

The acquisition will unlock significant cost synergies, reduce redundancies, and achieve economies of scale, leading to improved profitability in the mid- to long-term. These efficiencies extend to better fleet utilization, optimized procurement, enhanced negotiating power with major suppliers, insurance providers, and other vendors, and consolidated administrative functions.

The combined entity will benefit from optimized operations and shared resources, reducing redundant costs and enhancing overall agility and responsiveness to market demands. Based on independent third-party experts’ estimates, the company anticipates achieving significant recurring cost synergies per year from the third year onwards post-integration.

AutoWorld is a profitable company with a healthy profitability margin in line with industry averages. This acquisition is expected to be EPS accretive post-integration. The company’s management anticipates realizing debt cost savings through better terms for AutoWorld’s existing debt. Post-integration, and upon realizing cost synergies, Budget Saudi expects AutoWorld’s net profit to expand further, enhancing future consolidated net profits and margins.

The integration of two well-known and reputed brands will lead to a stronger, more unified market presence. By harmonizing the best practices and value propositions of both companies, Budget Saudi aims to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, contributing to long-term revenue growth.

Budget Saudi has seen substantial growth in its revenues and fleet. As part of its growth strategy — and in accordance with Vision 2030 — the company has launched a range of sustainable green initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of its fleet.

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