Swvl, the Dubai-based mobility company, quietly filed its annual report for 2022 on Oct. 31 after previously missing a NASDAQ deadline for submissions for publicly listed companies on the stock exchange. The long-anticipated report provides extensive details on the health of the Cairo-born company and its financial performance as it chases profitability and sustainability with its novel bus-hailing model in Africa and the Middle East.

In 2022, the mobility company doubled its revenue to $51.5 million, up from $25.6 million in the previous year. Swvl posted its first group gross profit, $2.75 million, largely because its revenue grew faster than its basic cost of operating its fleet of buses. The company’s cost of sales rose 55% to $48.7 million compared to the previous year.

The report represents a major turnaround for Swvl, which has endured a turbulent life as a publicly traded company. The company made its stock market debut in March 2022 when it merged with Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), trading at $10 per share at a $1.5 billion valuation. But its stock collapsed afterwards, trading below $1 for an extended period as NASDAQ threatened to delist the company if its share price didn’t exit penny stock levels. Swvl completed a reverse stock split, which effectively consolidated its shares, converting 25 units into 1. That action offered some relief, but its share price has never returned to its SPAC listing amount.

By late 2022, Swvl began making major changes to its business, including layoffs of 450 employees and shutting down operations in several countries, which radically impacted its financial information compared to details it reported by June 2022. Between mid-2021 and April 2022, the company announced at least four acquisitions as it expanded to new markets in Europe and Latin America. It acquired Shotl, a mass transit platform that operates on three continents; it also bought a controlling stake in Viapool which served Argentina and Chile; in June 2022, Swvl took over German-based Blitz B22-203 GmbH; and in April 2022, it took a controlling stake in Volt Lines, a Turkish company. And in August 2022, it acquired Latin American company Urbvan in an all-share deal. Following, these acquisitions, by mid-2022, Swvl posted half-year revenue of $40.7 million across 20 countries, nearly three times its income for the same period in 2021.

But by the end of 2022, Swvl had successfully reversed most of its acquisitions and shut down Blitz B22-203 GmbH. And in September, it sold Urbvan for $12 million. Unwinding these deals significantly changed the company’s situation, causing it to reformulate its financial statements and change previous business projections. The reversals also helped it reduce liability exposure related to some of these acquisitions, including payments to their suppliers.

As a company, Swvl reported strong growth thanks to its fast-growing bus-hailing services to business customers. In 2022, it raked in $37.9 million from business customers, a 132% jump from the previous year, compared to its mass transit services which reported $13.6 million. Overall, Swvl booked 45.7 million rides across both businesses last year, up from 25.9 million in 2021.

The company claimed it processed $56.5 million worth of ride tickets in 2022, compared to $38.4 million the year before. Swvl said its buses were full 96% of the time last year, with an average ticket per seat of $1.23.

Despite its rising revenue and financial changes from reversing previous acquisitions, Swvl, whose CEO, Mostafa Kandil, earns a basic salary of $650,000 a year, remains a loss-making enterprise. Swvl is yet to turn a profit and in 2022 it posted operating losses of $82.4 million, a 6.5% decline compared to the previous year. The company attributed much of its operating expenses to salaries and fees related to one-time activities, namely its acquisition reversals and fees from its SPAC listing in March last year.

The biggest takeaway from Swvl’s 2022 annual report is the company’s financial health. Before making drastic changes to its business last year, Swvl reported total liabilities of $149 million in 2021, including $118 million in short-term convertible debt. By the end of 2022, it had successfully converted much of its debt obligations into equity, shaving liabilities worth more than $124 million. Swvl also raked in $20 million in equity financing after it successfully sold 12.1 million shares at $1.65 per share in August 2022.

These changes have significantly improved Swvl’s financial situation and it alleviates much of its business pressures until it becomes a stable and profitable enterprise. However, high-profile exits including the replacement of its chief financial officer and resignations of two board members over the last few months might raise some eyebrows as Swvl’s CEO stabilizes the company’s operations.

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