Saudi Arabia’s FAS Labs, franchise retailer co-owned by Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & Company and mall developer and operator Arabian Centres Co., has partnered with valU, buy-now-pay-later fintech platform from Egyptian Financial Group (EFG) Hermes Holding.
The companies will pool SAR55 million to create FAS Finance, a digital consumer buy-now-pay-later finance solution which is set to operate as FAS Labs’ online payment solution.
“Arabian Centres and Alhokair share a pioneering history and a strong team with longstanding partnerships contributing to a robust retail footprint in Saudi Arabia,” said Mohamad Mourad, managing director of Arabian Centres Co. and interim CEO of Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & Company.
“The launch of FAS Finance and the strategic partnership with valU are perfectly aligned with our commitment to drive a robust omnichannel experience.”
Shoppers will be able to make online purchases instantly and schedule purchase value to be repaid in interest-free instalments.
FAS Finance will also be implemented across Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & Company’s portfolio of over 1,000 stores, 14 Saudi Arabian mono-brand websites and Vogacloset, UK-based e-commerce platform operating in the Middle East and North Africa.
Arabian Centres Co.’s 21 shopping centres across 11 cities will also allow shoppers to use the buy-now-pay-later scheme at tenants’ stores.
“Through the integration of innovative payment solutions, we offer greater affordability and value for our customers, all available through one digital platform,” Mr Mourad added.
Various vendors and other operators’ retail networks will also avail FAS Finance in the future.
The partnership complements valU’s regional expansion plans and the Saudi Arabian operators’ efforts to integrate technological initiatives amid the Kingdom’s digital transformation.
“We are honoured to be partnering with Alhokair and [Arabian Centres Co.] as part of our strategy to expand our product offering in new markets,” said Karim Awad, group CEO of EFG Hermes Holding.
“EFG Hermes has been in the Saudi Arabian market since 2007 offering brokerage, research and advisory services, this is a market we are committed to acting as catalysts for wider change within our industry.”
FAS Labs’ objective is to construct shopping platforms integrated with accessible and customisable digital consumer finance solutions, which valU aims to support.
“We are proud to have grown a strong brand like valU that offers finance solutions that directly feed into elevating consumers’ lifestyles,” Mr Awad added.
“We believe that the partnerships have forged and continue to initiate change and actively contribute to the future prosperity of both business and society.”
Besides the buy-now-pay-later scheme, FAS Finance will offer customers cash loans.
“We are delighted to enter this strategic partnership,” said Walid Hassouna, CEO of the Non-Bank Financial Institutions platform at EFG Hermes Holding and CEO of valU.
“valU has retained its position as the market leader in [buy-now-pay-later] solutions in the MENA region and Alhokair choosing us further cements this.”
Sixty-five per cent of FAS Finance will be owned by FAS Labs, with the remaining 35 per cent to be owned by valU.
“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,” Mr Hassouna added.
“We will also be utilising 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.”