Aramex sells data technology firm InfoFort to focus on core business

The logistics firm has signed a 'definitive' agreement with US-based information management company Iron Mountain

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, April 28: Aramex delivery bike in Dubai. (Pawan Singh / The National) For Stock

Aramex, the biggest courier company in the Middle East, is selling its data, technology and analytics firm InfoFort to US-based information management specialist Iron Mountain.

Aramex signed a "definitive and binding agreement" with a subsidiary of Iron Mountain, to sell InfoFort, which is among the largest information management solutions providers in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey region.

The asset disposal will strengthen Aramex's balance sheet and result in a more focused group, consistent with management's long-term strategy to strengthen core logistics solutions services, the company said in a statement on Thursday to the Dubai Financial Market where its shares trade.

"[The] sale of InfoFort is a major milestone for Aramex," Bashar Obeid, chief executive of Aramex, said. "We are pleased that Iron Mountain recognises the strength and position of InfoFort as a market leader in the region, as well as its future potential."

InfoFort represents less than 5 per cent of Aramex's assets, the company said in a separate filing to the bourse. The total value of the deal will be disclosed upon completion of the transaction, but Aramex said the expected gain is between $6 million to $9m.

InfoFort was founded by Rabea Ataya, the founder of online recruitment platform, in 1997 and was the Middle East's first data management company. It was sold to Aramex in 2005 for Dh51m ($13.9m).

The deal is subject to regulatory approval, and Aramex will announce financial details in the third quarter of 2021, when it expects the transaction to be finalised. Rothschild acted as financial adviser to Aramex, while Herbert Smith Freehills acted as legal adviser on the deal.

Aramex is 22.55 per cent owned by Abu Dhabi’s ADQ, one of the region’s largest holding companies. ADQ built its stake in the regional logistics giant through a series of on-market transactions and through an off-market special deal, it said in September.

Aramex reported a 59 per cent drop in its third-quarter net profit to Dh46.2m.

It attributed Dh53m in losses on property damages and customer goods due to the August Beirut Port blast in Lebanon and a warehouse fire in Morocco, as the reason for decline in profitability. Without these losses, the company's net profit would have only been down by an annual 13 per cent, it said in a November 5 statement.