KARACHI: Universal Network Systems Ltd (UNSL) — a logistics firm operating under the brand name of BlueEX — said on Monday an unnamed fintech has offered to buy a 20 per cent stake in the company.

The transaction size would be around Rs300 million if the deal took place at the prevailing share price of Rs55 apiece. The company is currently valued at a little over Rs1.5 billion.

Speaking to Dawn, UNSL Chief Financial Officer Salman Hameed said the unnamed fintech is looking to work with an “already established company” in the logistics segment.

The potential buyer will now commence the company’s due diligence, which is the formal name for the appraisal of assets and liabilities that’s conducted before the actual transaction.

UNSL is one of the three firms that are currently listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange’s Growth Enterprise Market or GEM counter — a side board on the exchange reserved for smaller and riskier businesses.

“Companies in the logistics sector become competitive based on the effective use of technology. There’s a lot of growth potential for businesses that know how to utilise technology for better service delivery,” said Mr Hameed.

UNSL was incorporated in 2005 as a domestic cargo consolidator. It shifted its focus towards e-commerce logistics in 2011 and conducted the country’s first cash-on-delivery shipment under the BlueEX brand.

In November 2021, UNSL sold one-quarter of its shareholding to institutional investors and high net worth individuals at the rate of Rs65 per share to raise Rs446m. The objective was to generate funds for the infrastructure expansion of the company, which aimed to take the number of its nationwide distribution hubs from 35 to 160 in three years.

The company’s top line amounted to Rs1.1bn in 2021-22, up 10.8pc from a year ago. Its net income dropped 52pc in the same year to Rs15.9m mainly because of a disproportionately high increase in selling, general and administrative expenses.

Transportation contributes 22.3pc to the service sector’s GDP and accounts for approximately 6pc of the country’s total employment.

According to research that the company’s officials shared at a briefing held for stock analysts last week, revenues in the country’s e-commerce market are projected to touch $7.6bn by the end of 2022. The sector-wide top line is expected to grow at an annualised rate of 6.1pc between 2022 and 2025, which means the projected market volume will be $9.1bn three years down the road.

The number of e-commerce users in Pakistan will likely cross 65m by 2025 while user penetration, which is 23.9pc in 2022, is expected to hit 26.9pc by 2025.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2022

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