The trailblazing Sprint Couriers has acquired entire shareholding in Aramex Botswana just three years after the two companies went into a partnership. The latest deal forms part of Sprint Couriers’ ambitions to expand to other markets in the future.
Sprint Couriers’ dealings with aramex began in 2015 when the Dubai based company set its first operations in the country. Sensing an opportunity to tap on the expertise of an international logistics company, Sprint Couriers management bought a 40 percent stake in the newly established Aramex Botswana. As a major shareholder, Amerax Global was in charge of management of Aramex Botswana, as well as the company’s major decisions.
In the background, the enterprising founders of Sprint Couriers were hard at work learning from Aramex Global, while also helping the logistics giant to reduce operational inefficiencies in its Botswana operations. Michelle Gebrial, co-founder of Sprint Couriers and also the company’s Projects Director, said the partnership was with many benefits.
“The partnership was great as it allowed Sprint Couriers to compete with multinational companies such as Fedex and DHL,” she said in email response. “Other benefits include amongst others, the introduction of exciting new products and services such as shop and ship, stronger delivery systems, strong IT investment, learning and training. We inherited staff with additional skills, knowledge of this industry internationally and of course business intelligence.”
Gebrial further said buying into Aramex Botswana allowed them to acquire existing technologies and business processes, which would otherwise be extremely expensive to develop on their own. Through the partnership, Sprint Couriers also had access to talented managers and employees without the need to engage in an extensive search and hiring process.
For its part, Sprint Couriers also brought its expertise to Aramex Botswana through eliminating redundancies and increasing overall revenues and also took advantage of additional distribution channels.
While the partnership had been great, the partners’ corporate structures came into play: Aramex is a public listed company in Dubai and London while Sprint Couriers is a private entity. As a result stringent conditions placed on listed companies, there was a drag in execution of certain mandates due to the reporting structures. Sensing again another opportunity to optimize the relationship, Sprint Couriers moved ahead to acquire the entire shareholding in Aramex Botswana.
“Sprint is well known for sprinting when it comes to service delivery and we wanted the liberty to take the decisions at local level to benefit both parties. The current setup is no different from the previous setup revenue wise, as we continue to use Aramex as our global partners where Sprint Couriers is not physically present. It has just enabled us to make faster decisions and help the company as longer reporting structures are a hindrance to efficient service,” explained Gebrial.
While Gebrial could not go into financial details of the acquisition due to contractual obligations, she says there hasn’t been any increased debt in Sprint Couriers balance sheet, implying that the deal was likely funded from the company’s cash reserves instead of borrowing.
Launched in 2006, Sprint Couriers stood the test of time, resilient on the face of tough trading conditions to become one of Botswana’s leading logistics company. The company was co-founded by Gebrial and Pinkie Setlalekgosi, both with years of experience in the courier and logistics industry behind them. The company has since grown, taking in other shareholders, while expanding its operations throughout the country, contributing positively to employment.
The company’s exploits have not gone unnoticed as Sprint Couriers continues to rank high in Botswana’s list of successful citizen owned businesses. In 2015, Sprint couriers became the first winner of the inaugural Private Business Growth award. Given the company’s triumphs, it’s not surprising that its name usually crops up on companies likely to list on the Botswana Stock Exchange in the not distant future. Asked if their acquisition of Aramex Botswana signals Sprint Courier’s future expansions, Gebrial revealed that it is all part of a larger strategy.
“Acquisitions have to be strategic, this was indeed a tempting opportunity especially that it has allowed us to reduce the total costs of running both businesses together and creating more value for Sprint Couriers,” she said. “Courier is a very expensive operation with very high operating costs and if we continue at this pace, there is no doubt in my mind that Sprint Couriers will be able to expand and grow through new partnerships and acquisitions in other countries.”