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Sri Lankan Company Owned Agora 

Sri Lankan Company Purchased Agora 

According to a public declaration by Softlogic, the Sri Lankan conglomerate’s retail holdings agreed on 4th March 2022 to entirely buy Agora, Bangladesh’s first and second-largest grocery chain. The articles contains Sri Lankan Company Owned Agora.

Softlogic Holding PLC said in a regulatory filing on the Colombo Stock Exchange that the acquisition of 100 percent ownership in the firm through a series of transactions would be subject to the terms and conditions set out therein, as well as regulatory approvals. Softlogic or Agora’s owners did not disclose the deal’s value. 

Khalid Quadir, CEO and founding partner of Brummer & Partners (Bangladesh), which controls the first Bangladesh-focused private equity fund, which now owns 72 percent of Agora, declined to reveal any figures at this time. “Our investments over a decade ago helped the firm and sector in Bangladesh expand, and we are forced to withdraw now due to the nature of international private equity investment,” he said.

Softlogic has extensive experience and competence in information technology, healthcare, retail, financial services, automobiles, and leisure. Mr. Quadir expects to add considerable value to the retail chain business in the next few days.

Rahimafrooz, one of the country’s oldest corporate houses, launched the first Agora supermarket outlet at Rifles Square, afterward dubbed Shimanto Square, in 2001 to provide a hassle-free modern grocery shopping experience to the capital’s rising upper-middle class. The Gemcon Group launched its first supermarket, Meena Bazaar, in Dhanmondi next year. They were primarily catering to the affluent early adopters in buying daily goods from a single store under one roof and some other players such as Nandan. The variety of products on the shelves used to be a big draw for supermarkets.

ACI joined the business with much fanfare in 2008 to make superstores a regular people’s destination. By aggressively investing in a large number of new stores, ACI’s supermarket chain Shwapno was able to achieve its goal to a large extent and quickly became the market leader as average urban consumers began to visit.

Shwapno has now opened 207 locations, 55 of which are massive superstores, with the rest run by franchisees all around the country. In addition, Agora welcomed its new investor Frontier Fund in 2009, which began with a 49 percent interest to keep up with the industry. Following a series of investments, the foreign private equity firm became the dominant stakeholder of Agora and now must withdraw, as it has done with other portfolio companies such as two-wheeler producer Runner Automobiles.

Agora presently has 18 superstores in Bangladesh of varying sizes, such as 15 in Dhaka, two in Sylhet, and one in Chattogram, to cater to the needs of busy individuals in the kitchen. It is the second most significant competitor in the business, with an estimated annual sales of roughly Tk500 crore, while Meena Bazaar, with 15 superstores, is breathing down its neck. On the other hand, daily Shopping, a Pran-RFL initiative with a handy retail style, has over 50 smaller chain locations.

Unimart, Prince Bazar, and a slew of newcomers are expanding their market share despite having a considerably smaller number of locations. According to Zakir Hossain, general secretary of the Bangladesh Supermarket Owners Association, member chains now operate over 300 superstores across Bangladesh, while many more modern retail establishments have sprouted outside the association’s jurisdiction.

According to Shwapno Executive Director Sabbir Hasan Nasir, the total number of non-chain superstores across the country may have already surpassed 1,000.

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