Softlogic, the Sri Lankan conglomerate’s retail holdings wing entered into an agreement on Friday to acquire Agora, Bangladesh’s first and second largest grocery chain. Frontier Fund, the first Bangladesh-focused private equity fund owns 72 percent of Agora. The news of acquiring 100% stake in Agora came after a public disclosure made by Softlogic Holding PLC in its regulatory filing in Colombo Stock Exchange.
Although both of the companies declined to disclose the value of the deal. However, according to Investment Banking sources, the amount might be between BDT 181 and BDT 249 crore, based on recent incidents. Khalid Quadir, chief executive officer and founding partner of Brummer & Partners (Bangladesh), which operates the Frontier fund, stated that “Our investments over a decade ago helped the business and the sector in Bangladesh grow and due to the nature of international private equity investment, we have to exit now,” He hopes that this acquisition will add substantial value to the retail chain’s operations.
Softlogic has extensive expertise in the domains of information technology, healthcare, retail, financial services, automobiles, and leisure. Apart from that Softlogic Retail Holdings also operates branded clothing, consumer electronics, mobile handset and distribution, supermarkets, and quick service restaurant businesses.
Rahimafrooz, one of the country’s oldest corporate houses of Bangladesh, with the aim of providing hassle-free modern grocery shopping experience opened the first supermarket outlet of Agora in 2001. Later in 2009 Frontier Fund became it’s investor, which started with a 49% stake of the company. Agora currently has 18 superstores in Bangladesh of varying sizes – 15 in Dhaka, two in Sylhet, and one in Chattogram. With an estimated annual turnover of roughly Tk500 crore, Agora is the industry’s second largest grocery chain.