“Iran’s Amazon” agrees share swap with largest online-only supermarket

“Iran’s Amazon” agrees share swap with largest online-only supermarket
By bne IntelliNews July 18, 2018

DigiKala, the business known as “Iran’s Amazon” and the country’s largest online retailer of electronic and clothing goods, has agreed a share swap to bring online-only supermarket Rocoland into its operation, according to a press release from the company released to digital news site nodud.com.

The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

DigiKala, run by the Mohammadi twin brothers, has doubled down on e-commerce in the country of 80mn in recent years, expanding its range of offers beyond its original digital line-up of goods to clothing, homewares and medical and bathroom devices.

In the press release, Digikala said: “DigiKala seeks to become a destination for all user needs, and covering the basic needs of users such as in food and consumer goods is thus one of the most important measures to achieve this goal.”

The company observed that the process of stocking fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) items is relatively complicated because of the required supply chain management.

Under the announced deal, Rocoland will remain independent, despite close alignment behind the scenes, and will continue to operate via its website.

The announcement also indicated that Rocoland intends to expand its range of FMCG goods to 10,000 items by the end of the current Persian year, which falls on March 20, 2019.

While discussing the move to grow the DigiKala and Rocoland brands, the Mohammadi brothers, believed by observers to be worth more than $100mn each due to their remaining DigiKala stakes, said they intended to offer some shares in the company on the Tehran Stock Exchange in coming months.

The recent collapse of the Iranian rial (IRR) in black market trading amid economic instabilities caused in part by the US targeting of Iran with heavy sanctions, as well as the government’s recent import ban on more than 1,300 goods deemed to be “luxury” in order to curb hard currency outflows, have caused market havoc, with several imports popular with middle-class Iranians now absent from the shelves.

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