E&, formerly known as Etisalat, a major telecom group based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is reportedly looking to begin expansions into new markets in Europe, Asia and Africa. The firm is also seeking to expand beyond telecoms into new products such as financial technologies in a bid to drive new growth, says E& CEO Hatem Dowidar.
According to Business Day, the company is exploring a new range of possibilities outside of the UAE, including potential fresh joint venture, acquisitions and listings of subsidiaries – however it still wishes to keep control of all its units, says Dowidar, adding that “While telco is a good business, and we’re still focusing on telco — as for us it is the money-generating cash cow — the long-term growth needs to be through expansion.”
“In the telco space, we are looking at geographic expansion,” he said, adding that the firm is exploring possibilities in countries in Africa, Europe and Asia with room for growth, political stability and strong regulations – no specific markets had been named, however.
Recently, the group split its business into consumer services-centric E& Life and government and business-focused E& Enterprise, while keeping telecom arm Etisalat – believed to be the seventh-largest telco in the world by market capitalisation.
Dowidar says that growth is expected to accelerate, the firm posted revenue growth of 17% in its E& enterprise last year, while E& grew by 3%. The CEO also said the company is preparing to make “a few more announcements soon in Egypt” regarding the fintech sector.
“We are ready for whatever is in the market … at the end of the day, these applications, they all use data. It might decrease our voice usage, but it will increase our data usage,” said Dowidar.