Chocofamily Holding Continues to Consolidate the E-Commerce Market in Kazakhstan

Founders of Aviata.kz Alexey Li and Evgeniy Matveev have quit the merged travel company of Aviata and Chocotravel, giving up their shares to the Chocofamily Holding

Announced on November 20, Chocofamily Holding has become full owner of the merged travel company of Aviata and Chocotravel. The holding previously owned a 53% share of the business.

The details of the deal haven’t been disclosed, but the parties have described it as being unique for Kazakhstan.

“This is a precedent-setting deal, to make a multimillion exit five to six years after the start,” Ramil Mukhoryapov, CEO of Chocofamily Holding, wrote on his Facebook page.

Aviata.kz and Chocotravel.com merged in February 2018. Both companies had been dominating the market of online ticket sales. By the time of the merger, their combined revenue was over $100 million. Notably, Chocofamily Holding, owner of Chocotravel.com, invested 600 million tenge into the merged company.

Since then, according to Chocofamily Holding’s press release, monthly revenue of the merged company has almost tripled and currently equals 8 billion tenge. The company sells more than 330,000 air and railway tickets per month. Mukhoryapov noted on Facebook that during a year and a half, growth of the merged business nearly tripled.

In the last ten months, air ticket sales increased by 57%, while railway ticket sales increased by 147%.

In his short commentary for Kursiv.kz, Alexey Li named two reasons he quit the successful business: his desire to focus on developing his own online shopping mall, Arbuz.kz, and a good time “to turn virtual capital into physical capital.”

Li agreed that quitting a successful business project isn’t typical for Kazakhstan, but it is “typical for the venture industry and the Internet industry as a whole.” The entrepreneur also announced plans to invest in tech startups.

Evgeniy Matveev, co-founder of Aviata.kz and representative of the Transavia company group (one of the largest offline ticket sales operators in Kazakhstan – Kursiv), said that his decision to quit is based on his desire to continue studying and to focus on domestic tourism projects. Matveev noted that “collaboration within the boundaries of strategic partnership between Aviata & Chocotravel and Transavia will be continued.”

Chocofamily Holding continues to consolidate the e-commerce market. Earlier in 2017, the holding bought its main competitor in the coupon services market, the Besmart.kz project, which allowed Chocofamily to gain control of 95% of the market. Experts then called the deal “iconic,” the first one in the history of Kazakhstani e-commerce where exit from the project was profitable. The deal’s value wasn’t publicized.

It can be said that most M & A (mergers and acquisitions) deals on this market now involve Chocofamily Holding. It bought 100% of Foodpanda Kazakhstan, became the owner of a 67% stake in iDoctor.kz, and sold its online store Chocomart to the national company Kazakhtelecom.

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