Indigo Holdings buys into Iranian Online Classifieds Marketplace

Indigo Holdings plc (NEX: INGO), the Middle East focused Investment Company that provides investors with exposure to early stage businesses, has invested €375,587 (approximately £320,000) in Net Tejarat Ahoura Company (“Net Tejarat), which owns 100% of the issued share capital of Sheypoor, a leading Iranian online classifieds marketplace.

Indigo has acquired a 1.09% stake in Net Tejarat  pursuant to an Assignment Agreement dated 6 March 2017 with, amongst others, Turquoise Group Limited (“Turquoise Group”). Pursuant to this agreement, Turquoise has assigned its rights over the 1.09% interest in Net Tejerat to Indigo in return for Indigo assuming Turquoise’s commitment to provide an interest free loan of €375,587 to Net Tejerat.

Turquoise acquired its interest in Net Tejerat via a Series D Fundraising round which valued Sheypoor at approximately €34,000,000 (approximately £29,000,000). Details of Turquoise Group are in the Related Party Transaction paragraph below.

Sheypoor, founded in 2012, has been active in creating a convenient one-stop destination for all Iranians to buy, sell and search for goods and services quickly, easily, and free of charge. Sheypoor has grown rapidly to become one of Iran’s leading websites and mobile applications.

Reza Arbabian, CEO of Sheypoor said:

“We are delighted to have a professional investor such as Indigo joining our shareholding structure. With the support of our investors and our first-rate team, Sheypoor aims to continue its remarkable growth to become the number one general classifieds platform for Iran.”

The value of Iran’s internet companies currently account for just 0.04% of the country’s GDP, far behind other countries with similar dynamics.

Related Party Transaction

Following completion of the Series D round referred to above, Rouzbeh Pirouz and Ramin Rabii own 12.47% and 19.75% respectively of the issued share capital of Net Tejarat. Rouzbeh Pirouz and Ramin Rabii also own 100% of Turquoise Group, which itself owns 32.13% of the issued share capital of the Company. Rouzbeh Pirouz and Ramin Rabii also own 3.21% and 10.94% of the Company’s issued share capital respectively.

Pursuant to the NEX Exchange Growth Market Rules for Issuers, the transaction with Turquoise Group constitutes a related party transaction. Hamish Harris, the Independent Non-Executive Director of the Company, considers that the terms of the transaction between the Company and Turquoise Group and the associated loan to Net Tejerat are fair and reasonable insofar as the Company’s shareholders are concerned.

Indigo’s investment in Sheypoor follows its acquisition last month of a 5% stake in the Iranian car ride-sharing app, Carvanro, by investing in its Series A Fundraising round. Carvanro is a car ride-sharing marketplace aggregator connecting drivers and passengers wishing to share journeys, similar to that of Europe’s BlaBlaCar which was recently valued at $1.3bln.

Indigo Non-Executive Chairman Nick Harwood sees strong growth potential in e-commerce in Iran:

With a population of 80 million people, 70% of whom are young and with a mobile internet and banking penetration rates at par with developed markets, Iran is the largest untapped E- commerce market in the Middle East. We aim to benefit from its impressive growth potentials in the coming years at Indigo.

“Indigo aims to provide foreign investors with easy access and exposure to an exciting young consumer internet sector, which is underpinned by an incredibly attractive demographic.

Commenting on the latest acquisition, Eddie Kerman, Executive Director of Indigo Holdings, said:

“I am very pleased to be able to announce our second investment in as many weeks, which also comes less than a month after our successful admission to the NEX Exchange Growth Market. Sheypoor fits perfectly with Indigo’s investment strategy as a leading e-commerce platform with huge growth potential. The platform is growing in popularity having seen a nine-fold increase in page views in less than two years. The team at Sheypoor are technologically capable and have developed a fantastic platform known for its user-friendly design and interface and its fast responsiveness.”

“We believe that Iran is one of the world’s largest untapped e-commerce markets in the world, undergoing a digital revolution which is on track to transform the business landscape with internet and mobile penetration rates comparable with developed countries. The start-up scene in Iran is vibrant with the country seen by some analysts as the next India and China in terms of numbers of new companies being launched. Growing numbers of consumers are getting more used to shopping online with the culture of convenience becoming dominant as shoppers battle traffic and time constraints.

“The Iranian government is increasing its support to mobile operators and has granted 3G and 4G licenses to all mobile operators since September 2014. By 2020 the government aims to provide 80% of households with internet access”.

(Source: Indigo Holdings plc)

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