Waha Capital to invest in leading Latin American online travel company

Waha Capital to invest in leading Latin American online travel company

ABU DHABI, 22nd August 2020 (WAM) – Waha Capital PJSC, a leading investment company in Abu Dhabi (ADX: WAHA), has announced an investment of AED 184 million (US$ 50 million) in Despegar.com, a leading NYSE-listed company in the online travel sector.

An addition to its investment programme initiated in May comprising a total of up to $150m in US-listed companies, the new investment supports Waha Capital’s growth strategy for its Private Investments portfolio. As part of the investment, Waha Capital will also appoint a representative to the company’s Board of Directors.

Waha Capital and Despegar.com entered into a private placement through which Waha Capital will invest in series B preferred shares convertible into ordinary shares for an aggregate purchase price of AED 184 million (US$50 million).

Amr AlMenhali, Chief Executive Officer for Waha Capital, said: "As was evident in our recently announced first half financial results, we are pursuing a vigorous turnaround strategy to position Waha Capital for renewed growth in the coming years. We are confident that investments such as the one we are making in Despegar will put us on a firm footing to deliver significantly higher future returns for our shareholders as we successfully navigate past the impact of COVID-19 and look to the future. We are excited about our investment in Despegar.com, a leading technology company focused on the travel sector, with a best-in-class platform, established brand leadership, and a high quality management team."

The investment in Despegar.com, which is listed on the NYSE, further diversifies Waha Capital’s investment portfolio into both a new sector and a new region. Despegar is the leading online travel company in Latin America, and one of the most recognized brands in the region. Despegar offers consumers an expansive selection of options, and its partners and travel suppliers, a comprehensive and innovative technology platform for managing the distribution of their products. The company offers a unique combination of broad product offerings and flexible payment capabilities, making it the platform of choice with the highest market share in the region.

This investment further underscores Waha Capital’s strategy of investing in companies that have strong growth potential and are market leaders in their segments. Despegar is well-positioned to benefit from an accelerating shift to online consumer purchases driven both by technology advancement as well as the accelerated adoption of e-commerce due to the impact of COVID-19.

Latin American online travel bookings are expected to accelerate in the coming years, once the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have subsided. Factors driving the growth in online travel bookings include the increase of internet penetration, further adoption of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices and a growing middle class with greater access to banking services and credit products, together enabling a larger segment of the population to transact online or on mobile devices. The company offers the broadest travel portfolio, with inventory from global suppliers, including over 270 airlines and over 690,000 hotels, as well as some 1,260 car rental agencies and approximately 200 destination services suppliers.

Waha Capital’s Private Investment business invests in a diverse range of sectors including technology, healthcare, energy, financial services, infrastructure and industrial real estate. The business continues to focus on identifying new investments, with a potential to realize long-term returns for Waha Capital shareholders.