FAS Labs, a franchise retailer in Saudi Arabia owned by Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair, and Arabian Centers Company (ACC), owner, developer and operator of lifestyle shopping malls in Saudi Arabia, have entered into a partnership with valU, the buy-now, plat- paid fintech form.
The agreement will accelerate valU’s geographic expansion and provide digital consumer finance solutions in Saudi Arabia through FAS Finance.
The partnership agreement will also allow FAS Finance to be owned by FAS Labs (65%) and valU (35%).
FAS Labs was recently established to lead the joint digital initiatives of Alhokair and ACC, providing Saudi customers with a range of accessible and customizable consumer finance digital solutions, to build and scale a shopping platform fully integrated that engages consumers throughout the purchase journey, from pre-purchase to post-purchase.
ValU will accelerate FAS Finance’s ability to develop and scale a fully integrated procurement platform leveraging accessible digital finance solutions. In Saudi Arabia, the solutions will be available through Alhokair’s distribution network of over 1,000 stores, as well as online at Vogacloset and single-brand sites, including 14 in Saudi Arabia. It will also expand to other vendors, retail networks and merchants to include and cover the entire Saudi market.
Mohamad Mourad, Managing Director of ACC and Acting CEO of Alhokair, said, “Arabian Centers and Alhokair share a pioneering history and a strong team with longstanding partnerships contributing to a strong business footprint in Saudi Arabia. The launch of FAS Finance and the strategic partnership with valU fits perfectly with our commitment to deliver a robust omnichannel experience. Through the integration of innovative payment solutions, we deliver greater accessibility and value to our customers, all available through a single digital platform. In addition, our tenants have access to added value and benefits through this consistent purchasing platform.
The solutions will also be offered to ACC tenants, spread across 21 malls in 11 major cities across the kingdom.
For valU, this strategic partnership marks an important milestone, supporting its strategy to expand its customer base by entering new markets. Saudi Arabia will be the first market valU will enter outside of Egypt.
“We are honored to partner with Alhokair and ACC as part of our strategy to expand our product offering into new markets,” said Karim Awad, Group CEO of EFG Hermes Holding.
“EFG Hermes has been present in the Saudi market since 2007 and offers brokerage, research and advisory services. It is a market in which we are committed to acting as catalysts for broader change within our industry. We are proud to have developed a strong brand like valU that offers financing solutions that directly contribute to improving consumers’ lifestyles. We believe the partnerships we have forged and continue to drive change and actively contribute to the future prosperity of business and society,” Awad added.
FAS Labs has obtained preliminary approval from the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia to establish FAS Finance as a Shariah-compliant consumer digital credit company. Final approval and change of ownership of FAS Finance (formerly 100% owned by FAS Labs) remains subject to final approvals from regulatory authorities: Saudi Arabian Central Bank, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Investment and General Authority of competition.
“We are delighted to enter into this strategic partnership. valU has maintained its position as the market leader in BNPL solutions in the MENA region and Alhokair has chosen us to strengthen this position. The launch of valU in Saudi Arabia is a natural continuation of our strong partnership with Alhokair and is our first step outside of Egypt, with other similar moves to follow soon. We will also use our extensive network that we have built with valU for brands in the Saudi market and expand our services to include them,” said Walid Hassouna, CEO Non-Banking Financial Institutions (NBFI) Platform at EFG Hermes. Holding and CEO of valU.
“We are delighted to issue cash loans for the first time which will complement our BNPL solutions offering. As ValU is a platform through which consumers can seamlessly access financing solutions across various industries, we serve as an affordability-enhancing conduit. We pride ourselves on creating solutions that help our customers enrich their everyday lifestyles, from shopping and education to sports, entertainment, travel and more,” concluded Hassouna.
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