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Abu Dhabi-backed fund buys into UAE’s booming pet care industry

Reuters/Amr Alfiky
Dogs on treadmills at a pet gym in Abu Dhabi. The UAE's pet care market is worth about $232m

Aliph Capital, the Gulf’s first female-led private equity firm, has entered the UAE’s booming pet care industry with its first deal.

The fund, which raised $125 million last month from Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ, has bought The Pet Shop, the largest retailer of pet food and accessories in the UAE, from Kasamar Holdings.

Aliph Capital told Reuters: “In addition to the buyout, Aliph Capital is injecting significant growth capital into The Pet Shop to expand its presence across the UAE and the region and consolidate its leading position in the pet space, with The Pet Shop expected to enter other fragmented GCC markets including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.”

The value of the investment has not been disclosed.

The Pet Shop has five stores across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah, plus the websites and Petsville. It also offers services such as boarding, training, and grooming.

Aliph, which was set up by Huda Al Lawati in 2021, is planning to make a dozen deals over the next five to seven years.

The UAE pet care industry is worth an estimated AED854.4 million ($232.6 million) this year, according to market research firm Euromonitor International. The market is expected to grow by around 12 percent each year for the next few years.

During the lockdowns of 2020, expenditure on pets rose by nearly 20 percent as homebound residents looked to their furry friends for companionship.

“The pandemic has helped our business grow two-fold,” Sidarth Mahindra, chief pet officer at Dubai-based Pet Corner, told AGBI in August.

“People were longing for companionship. Couples who chose not to have children decided to dedicate their lives to a pet and make it part of their family, or those families that had children wanted to get a pet.”