Sports and nutrition supplements market in the GCC growing at 20% per annum, faster than the global average of 8.5%
Abu Dhabi: Gulf Capital, one of the largest and most active alternative investment firms in the Middle East, announced today that it has acquired a controlling stake in Sporter.com, the leading online retailer of sports and nutrition supplements in the GCC, operating in a rapidly growing sector of the digital economy. Sporter.com’s operations are located in state- of-the-art facilities across multiple countries, which allows the company to provide a convenient, timely and price-effective service to customers in the Arab region.
Sporter.com’s offering comprises some of the top global nutrition brands including Optimum Nutrition, BSN, Muscletech, Cellucor, Dymatize, Quest Bars, and Russian Bear, amongst others. The company is benefiting from the general surge of online shopping in the Middle East, particularly when it comes to buying sports and nutrition supplements online. Today, the share of online sales of sports and nutrition products in the GCC stands at 7% of the total market. It is expected to grow to 20% of the total supplements’ sales in the next five years, in line with the levels in the United States.
Dr. Karim El Solh, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Capital said: “The strategic investment in Sporter.com is an exciting one for Gulf Capital as it offers our investors exposure to both the rapidly growing digital economy and the booming sports nutrition sector in the GCC. The E-Commerce space in the Middle East is growing rapidly at an estimated five-year CAGR of 21+%. Sporter.com has the lion’s share of online sales of nutrition supplements in the GCC and gives us an unparalleled exposure to the booming ecommerce and the health and supplements sectors in the region. We look forward to working with the Sporter.com management team and to helping them cement and grow their position as the leading online destination for health and nutrition supplements”.
The sports nutrition industry is expected to grow to US$52.5 billion in global sales by 2020, from US$ 30 billion in 2013. This trend is reflected in the region with annual growth expected to accelerate from its current 8.5% to an expected above-global-average of 20%. Drivers of this expansion include demographics, rapid urbanisation, high online connectivity, high disposable income, growing health awareness among consumers, and introduction of new ingredients in sports nutrition products and a growing trend for adopting a healthier lifestyle. According to a recent research published in the Gulf Medical Journal, around 40% of gym members in the UAE are also supplement users.
Abdullah Shahin, Managing Director, Private Equity at Gulf Capital, concluded: “We see significant potential in the sports nutrition market in the GCC and MENA region. The GCC market is expected to grow at over 20% per annum over the next five years outpacing the global markets. We are excited to further expand our portfolio of technology-driven businesses. We look forward to working with Sporter.com to capitalise on the market potential, to enter new markets and to establish the company as the leading player in the online retail of sports nutrition in the region”.
Ernst & Young acted as financial and tax advisor, while Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher acted as legal advisors to Gulf Capital on the transaction. Capital Bank Corporate Advisory (DIFC) Ltd. acted as financial advisors nd Eversheds LLP acted as legal advisors to the sellers.
About Gulf Capital:
Gulf Capital is one of the leading alternative asset management firms in the Middle East, investing across several asset classes including Private Equity, Private Debt and Real Estate. The Firm currently manages over AED 14.7 billion (US$4 billion) of assets across 10 funds and investment vehicles. Gulf Capital’s mission is to grow capital and build value with world-class expertise and best practices to generate sustainable superior performance for all stakeholders. Gulf Capital, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, invests its own capital alongside its fund investors’ capital in all of the funds it launches. Gulf Capital received regional and international recognitions from industry peers and experts. The Firm was awarded the “Best Private Equity Firm in the Middle East” Award by Banker Middle East Magazine in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and the “Best Private Equity Firm” in the Middle East and North Africa by Private Equity International, as well as “Best SMEs Credit Fund in the Middle East’ in 2015 and “Best Alternative Asset Management Firm in the Middle East” in 2016. The Firm is actively involved in real estate development through Gulf Related, its joint venture with the Related Companies, the leading private real estate developer in the United States. Gulf Related is focused on pursuing marquee large-scale mixed-use and residential real estate development opportunities in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Gulf Capital also launched a Private Debt business, Gulf Credit Partners, which offers credit and mezzanine financing to meet the funding needs of fast-growing companies and to provide acquisition finance across the Middle East, North and Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Turkey. With its private equity, real estate and private debt initiatives, Gulf Capital is today one of the largest and most diversified alternative asset managers in the Middle East.