Aramex couriers are a familiar sight on the streets of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but a new deal could lead to the company's red scooters buzzing much further around the world.
Aramex announced yesterday it had struck a deal to acquire Ireland's Aquaship Agencies, a liner agent and freight-forwarding company based in Dublin.
The move gives Aramex access to all of Aquaship's operations from Ireland to markets that include the US, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America.
Aramex hopes the move will bring significant cost savings as it seeks to expand out of its Middle East heartland.
"The transaction provides Aramex with a range of synergies, including a strong ocean freight client base and a management team with significant knowledge and experience in the Irish and UK markets," said Fadi Ghandour, the founder and chief executive of Aramex.
"This is the second acquisition for Aramex in Ireland following the acquisition of Two Way, one of the leading freight and logistics operators in Ireland, in 2006.
"These acquisitions complement each other and reinforce Aramex's position in the Irish market, where the company currently employs over 150 people."
Mr Ghandour declined to give further details of the acquisition or the price paid for Aquaship. "We are thrilled to become part of such a well-respected and forward-looking company as Aramex," said Andy Humphries, the Aquaship managing director who will become the manager for ocean freight in Ireland.
Aramex jumped 4.6 per cent to Dh1.58 a share in trading yesterday, as the market enjoyed a sustained relief rally after several days of losses. Marwan Shurrab, a fund manager at Gulfmena Alternative Investments, said the expansion was "ideal" for the UAE company as it geared up for further expansion.
"[Aquaship] is a small company and it would contribute to the bottom line about Dh2.5 million [US$680,643]," said Mr Shurrab. "The company makes revenues of Dh50m.
"It's a continuation of the expansion plans that Aramex has and is one of three [acquisitions] made so far in 2011. It shows the company's motivation towards expanding outside of current markets and tapping into Europe and North America."
Aramex operates in Turkey, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Kenya after acquisitions in those countries.
This month, it acquired OneWorld Courier and In-Time Couriers, two Kenyan delivery companies. "The company is gearing up to become an emerging markets logistics player," said Digvijay Tanwar, an analyst at Global Investment House.
"This ispart and parcel of that strategy.
"Compared to other logistics players, the company has much lower levels of debt and assets."