valU for Consumer Finance, the buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) subsidiary of Egyptian banking heavyweight EFG Hermes, has acquired a 35% stake in Saudi-based Shariah compliant digital financier FAS Finance, paving the way for valU’s international expansion.
FAS Finance, operated by FAS Labs which is owned by Saudi retail giant Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Co and the Kingdom’s largest retail real estate company Arabian Centres, entered into a partnership with valU on the 5th June 2022. Under the agreement, valU will hold 35% of FAS Finance while FAS Labs will retain the remaining 65%.
Saudi Arabia will be the first market that valU enters outside of Egypt.
“valU’s launch in [Saudi Arabia] comes as a natural progression of our strong partnership with Alhokair and is our first move outside of Egypt with other similar moves to follow soon. We will also be utilizing our extensive network that we have built with valU for brands that have presence in the Saudi market and extending our services to include them,” shared Walid Hassouna, CEO of the non-bank financial institutions platform at EFG Hermes Holding and CEO of valU. EFG Hermes anchored itself in Saudi Arabia in 2007 offering brokerage, research and advisory services.
valU’s solution is available at over 5,000 points of sale and over 330 websites. The partnership will allow FAS Finance to offer a BNPL solution to Alhokair’s network of over 1,000 stores and on Vogacloset and the monobrand websites as well as Arabian Centre’s tenants across 21 shopping malls in 11 Saudi cities.
Walid confirmed that valU will be issuing cash financing to complement its BNPL offering.
FAS Labs is tasked with spearheading joint digital initiatives of Alhokair and Arabian Centres, particularly to roll out a range of customizable digital consumer finance solutions, with the ultimate view of building and scaling a fully integrated shopping platform to engage consumers throughout the entire purchase journey from pre-purchase to post-purchase.
Earlier in January, FAS Labs secured preliminary approval from the Saudi Central Bank to establish FAS Finance as an Islamic digital consumer finance company. The final approval and the change in ownership of FAS Finance remain subject to final approvals by the regulatory authorities: Saudi Central Bank, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Investment, and General Authority for Competition.