Sanabil Investments makes a significant investment in Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa’s Saudi Arabia operation

Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa, the leading regional Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), and the Saudi Arabian Investment Company (“Sanabil Investments”), today announced the signing of a landmark deal in which Sanabil Investments is making a significant investment in Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia (Virgin Mobile Saudi Consortium LLC). The investment was made in return for a substantial minority stake in Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia.

Sanabil Investments is a closed joint stock company with a share capital of twenty billion Saudi Riyals (SAR 20,000,000,000), is wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund, and is headquartered in Riyadh. Sanabil Investments was established to contribute to the strength of Saudi Arabia’s economy by pursuing diversified and attractive local and international investment opportunities and by establishing itself as a leading global investment company.

Ibrahim Alromaih, Chief Executive Officer of Sanabil Investments, said: “Sanabil Investments actively looks for profitable sustainable opportunities that support the growth of the Kingdom’s economy while transferring expertise and knowhow to Saudi Arabia. We are excited about our direct investment in Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia. They have shown substantial growth since their launch, and have used their first mover advantage to pioneer the development of an innovative MVNO business model in Saudi Arabia. We look forward to Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia continuing to strengthen its market position and achieve its vision and goals.”

Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa was the first MVNO to market in Saudi Arabia in Q4 2014 following the milestone decision in 2014 by the Communications and Information Technology Commission ( CITC ) to offer licences to MVNOs.

Mikkel Vinter, CEO and Founder of Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa, said: “We would like to thank our customers, local partners and, of course, the CITC for the considerable support we have received so far in the Kingdom. We believe that the opening of the market to MVNO’s in Saudi Arabia will significantly broaden consumer choice, and further accelerate the introduction of MVNOs across the region. We are honoured by the investment by Sanabil Investments. Sanabil Investments is an excellent partner for Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia, and we hope to rapidly grow and prosper with such an esteemed partner supporting our vision and goals. We look forward to bringing increased choice of the most innovative, useful and entertaining mobile services to our customers both in Saudi Arabia and across the MEA region, based on the unique style and customer experience that has made Virgin Mobile the most successful mobile services brand globally.”

Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa has ambitious plans to further strengthen its market-leading position in the region by launching in more countries. It is targeting a regional customer base of over 10 million subscribers within 5 years with Saudi Arabia forecasted to be the biggest market in the VMMEA Group.

To secure the best possible basis for success in the Saudi Arabian market, the local operating company is owned by a consortium consisting of VMMEA and strong local partners including prominent Saudi Arabian and Middle Eastern investors.

About Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa

Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa (VMMEA) is the company responsible for Virgin Mobile’s operations in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia region, and is headquartered in Dubai Internet City, UAE. The company was established as FRiENDi GROUP in 2006, and was renamed Virgin Mobile in 2012 when Virgin Group and FRiENDi GROUP combined their regional MVNO operations. VMMEA has established a leading position across the region with 5 live MVNO operations in South Africa, Oman, Malaysia, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and more in the pipeline.

Operating as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), VMMEA’s core business activity is to provide mobile telecommunication services to consumers. The company does this by managing two consumer facing brands: Virgin Mobile and FRiENDi mobile.

The VMMEA management team include senior level team members from a variety of successful regional and global mobile operators, as well as from MVNOs. The company has a strong financial foundation supported by well-respected and global and regional shareholders. The shareholders include Virgin Group, GIC, ePlanet Capital, Dolphin International, NTEC, Millennium Private Equity and members of the senior management team.

Operating as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), Virgin Mobile MEA’s core business activity is to provide mobile telecommunication services to consumers. The company does this by managing two consumer facing brands: Virgin Mobile and FRiENDi mobile.