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​​​Cleartrip acquires Saudi Arabia’s OTA Flyin, increases focus on Middle East

TRAI in-flight internet

Online travel agent Cleartrip has acquired Saudi Arabia’s’s OTA Flyin for an undisclosed amount. This deal will help Cleartrip to strengthen its focus in Saudi Arabia and focus on the Middle East and North Africa (abbreviated as MENA) region. The transaction will close once final regulatory and corporate approvals are received.

Cleartrip said in a statement that, the combined company will have over 60% market share throughout the Middle East and improved profitability due to better unit economics and larger scale of operations. Started in 2008, Flyin lists 320000 hotels and 450 airlines on its website.

Cleartrip’s international expansion

The company entered the Middle East region in 2012. Cleartrip said that it has recorded rapid growth year-on-year since the company made its first international expansion in 2012 in the Middle East region.  Last year in June, Cleartrip launched an Arabic website to further expand into the Middle East region, by providing localized content.

In May, Cleartrip partnered with activities platforms, Klook and Musement to expand its footprint in international space. With this partnership, Cleartrip now offers engaging activities and experiences, in 48 European countries and 18 South East Asian countries.

It makes sense for the OTA to explore other markets, as the competition in India is getting fierce with the players like MakeMyTrip, NASDAQ-listed Yatra and now Via.com also, as in November last year Nasdaq-listed Ebix, also the parent company of ItzCash, acquired Via.com for approximately $74.9 million to enter the travel segment, expand geographies and enter South East Asia (SEA) region, and further strengthen Ebix’s position in the Financial Exchange market in India.

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The competition has also reflected upon Cleartrip’s financial performance, according to this Techcircle’s report, Cleartrip’s posted a loss of Rs 65 crore in FY 2017, as compared to a loss of Rs 29 crore in 2014-15.

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