Majid Al Futtaim Ventures considers entering new markets

Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim Ventures plans to seek acquisitions, boost its investments and double its revenues over the next five years as it considers entering East Africa, Pakistan and possibly Iran.

Majid Al Futtaim Ventures runs all the leisure, entertainment and cinema facilities at Majid Al Futtaim malls and third-party malls around the region. It also represents fashion brands, and is responsible for the consumer finance and healthcare business of the group.

“We are accelerating our capital investment programme, but we always leave spare capacity within our funding to look at acquisition opportunities,” says Ahmed Ismail, chief executive, MAF Ventures. “Despite the fact that you see a lot of economic challenges and headwinds around us here in the region, we remain firmly focused on the long-term.”

“I think potentially we are looking at Pakistan and East Africa entry at the same time in the coming 12-to-18 months if we can find the right opportunities and are able to execute them. We are most likely going to lead in with our cinema business, and the reason for that is the fact that the cinema business has a more strategic focus on growing the next-horizon markets,” he reveals.

Majid Al Futtaim Retail, which operates Carrefour stores across 13 countries in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa, plans to open a store in Nairobi.

“We believe there will be a longer runway for growth beyond the next five years in the next-horizon markets for us and we are starting to plant seeds for future growth. The strategic logic for us is very simple. Our market share is relatively high in the GCC. Although these markets continue to grow, they are fundamentally limited in terms of size,” Ismail explains.

Further Majid Al Futtaim Ventures is planning to boost investments by 30% to Dh1 billion next year compared with this year as it prepares to open Ski Egypt – the first indoor ski slope in Africa – and other projects around the region.

Majid Al Futtaim Ventures revenue rose 21% to Dh609 million in the first half of this year compared with the year-earlier period and the unit expects to at least maintain revenue growth of 20% as it boosts its investments.

“Our objective is to maintain and accelerate that rate of growth next year and over the next five years. Doubling in size in five years will require a compound annual growth rate in excess of 20%. The investment programme is geared towards achieving these long-term targets,” Ismail concludes.

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