Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, has signed a non-binding deal with Seera Group Holding to acquire a SR3.75 billion ($1 billion) stake in its travel unit Almosafer.
The PIF seeks to hold 30% of Almosafer’s capital, Seera Group said in a bourse filing. As part of the deal, Seera’s destination management subsidiary Discover Saudi and its Hajj and Umrah operator Mawasim will fall under the umbrella of Almosafer.
This means Almosafer will cover four areas of travel – consumer retail, corporate/business, religious travel and destination management.
The proposed transaction is a strategic milestone in Seera’s pioneering transformation plan announced in 2017, to strengthen the group’s businesses and enhance long-term value for shareholders, the group said.
Almosafer aims to use the capital injection to scale up its tourism operations and strengthen its position as a leading travel agency in the Kingdom.
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Seera Group reported a strong Q2 2022, as it saw a rebound across all sectors – domestic, inbound and outbound. Its gross booking value (GBV) rose to SAR 2.5 billion (US$923 million) in Q2 (April to June) 2022, an increase of 108% compared to SAR 1.2 billion in Q2 2021.
During the first six months of 2022, Seera achieved a GBV of SAR 4.1 billion (US$1.1 billion), an increase of 105% compared to SAR 2 billion in the same period of 2021.
Almosafer, its travel business, reported a 89% growth in GBV to SAR 1.7 billion in Q2 2022, up from SAR 0.9 billion in Q2 202. Almosafer’s consumer travel unit achieved its highest ever quarterly GBV of SAR 1.1 billion in Q2 2022, an increase of 175% compared to SAR 0.4 billion in Q2 2021.
In June 2022, Almosafer recorded the highest levels of consumer travel bookings in its history, exceeding pre-pandemic levels in June 2019 by 27% with a GBV of over SAR 500 million. Almosafer’s consumer travel segment is on track to achieve SAR 4 billion GBV by the end of 2022.
Chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the $620 billion PIF is plowing deeper into public markets as it pursues the goal of increasing its assets to about $1 trillion by 2025.
* This article originally appeared on WebInTravel
Middle East Travel Market Report 2021-2025
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