Dubai: Abu Dhabi-based e& enterprise, a subsidiary of technology and telecom conglomerate e& (formerly known as Etisalat), plans to continue acquiring companies from across markets to broaden its portfolio within the digital transformation space.
Without providing details about the companies e& enterprise plans to acquire, Salvador Anglada, CEO of e& enterprise, said, “We are actively seeking new acquisitions, and we currently have two ongoing processes in place.” The company plans a flexible approach in this matter, to either fully acquire or take a controlling stake in companies it intends to acquire, with a time frame ranging from immediate acquisition to up to three years.
“We’re very eager to get the founders of these companies with us. It’s very important to retain the talent,” Anglada said on the sidelines of Gitex Global 2023 on Tuesday.
The CEO said e& enterprise is particularly interested in areas where the company needs to complement its existing capabilities. “For instance, we are focusing on enhancing our business applications side,” he said.
e& Enterprise made significant moves earlier this year, acquiring a majority stake in Dubai-based Beehive and securing a 65 per cent stake in Bespin Global MEA through a joint venture with South Korea’s Bespin Global.
Anglada said the company’s expansion plans extend to various regions, including Africa and Eastern Europe. “We assess the potential and market maturity in each region, and our entry strategy may vary based on the specific circumstances,” he said.
The company may sometimes enter markets partially before establishing a more significant presence, said Anglada. “This approach allows us to take the time needed for successful market entry. As we expand, we observe synergies between our various companies, particularly in cross-selling services, including cloud, cybersecurity, and automation. This comprehensive approach underpins our business strategy,” he stated.
No IPO plans at the moment
That said, the CEO confirmed that an initial public offering is separate from e& enterprise’s growth plans as the company has a strong funding profile and does not need additional funds to support its growth.
He said, “We have robust cash flow generation capabilities. The telco business generates substantial cash flows, with free cash flow reaching up to $7 to $8 billion annually.”
Besides our strong cash flow, our financial profile allows us to leverage debt effectively, enabling us to fund expansion. We’ve used debt to target specific growth areas, and our ability to manage it's sustainable for the future.
IoRT is the future
As far as R&D plans are concerned, e& enterprise is heavily focused on expanding its Internet of Robotic Things (IoRT) offerings. “Our IoT projects are quite innovative. One notable example involves drones, where traditionally, a pilot is required for operation. We’re working on an autonomous platform for drones, allowing them to fly beyond the pilot’s line of sight,” said Alberto Araque, CEO of e& enterprise IoT and AI.
“We are waiting for regulations to permit autonomous drone flight. Furthermore, we plan to apply AI on top of the drone technologies to enhance use cases, such as tracking construction progress,” said Araque.
Apart from drones, the company is also involved in robotics, particularly automation and automatically guided vehicles. “The adoption of UAVs and automatic vehicles is not something for the distant future; it’s happening now, with various applications in operation. This is especially true in the UAE and Saudi Arabia,” he added. e& enterprise is also exploring ground robots for safety and security applications.