Dubai: Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC, the Dubai-based group that brought indoor skiing and skydiving to the emirate’s malls, is considering acquisitions in the entertainment and retail industry.
The company is bullish on the region and considering to expand further outside the United Arab Emirates, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, chief executive officer Alain Bejjani said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.
“We are looking at potential acquisitions that will allow us to grow inorganically especially in the leisure, entertainment and retail sectors,” Bejjani said. “There are other markets that have a lot of head-room and we’re looking at them. We want to grow and build scale significantly.”
Job cuts and a slowdown in the global economy are taking a toll on Dubai, where spending in malls is rising less quickly and rents on apartments are dropping faster than in the last two years. The “outlook is positive, there are headwinds, but we know how to deal with those headwinds,” Bejjani said.
While Iran is an “interesting” market, the company is “sitting on the fence and watching” for more clarity on removal of US sanctions, Bejjani said. Foreign companies, including retailers, have been exploring business opportunities in the relatively untapped market of 80 million people, since the removal of some sanctions in January.
Majid Al Futtaim said on Wednesday that first-half revenue grew 11 per cent to 15.2 billion dirhams ($4.1 billion) and earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortisation, also known as EBITDA, rose 7 per cent.