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Majd Al Futtaim: Investing in Saudi and regionally like there is no tomorrow

Majid Al Futtaim combining digital investments with mortar & bricks, exhibiting unsurpassed confidence in the region's retail and entertainment sectors

Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) has a very strong pipeline of shopping centres in Saudi Arabia worth about $4 billion MAF is considering a 'long target list' of e-commerce Mergers and Acquisitions MAjid Al Futtaim is on target to process around 1.5 million online grocery orders by the end of 2019

Present in the Saudi market for more than 12 years, Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), a UAE-based developer and shopping mall operator, told Zawya that it has a multi-billion dollar portfolio worth of shopping centres in the kingdom coming up.

“We have a very strong pipeline of shopping centres in Saudi Arabia worth about $4 billion,” Alain Bejjani, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Holding told Zawya.

“We’re very bullish about the Saudi market,” he said in a telephone call.

Ongoing talks on VOX 

We have launched our VOX Cinemas (subsidiary) business in Saudi last year, and we’re opening a new cinema almost every month,” Bejjani said.

VOX opened 4 more multiplexes in Jeddah and Riyadh, totalling 47 screens, and plans to have 110 screens open by the end of this year. 

VOX Cinemas plans to operate more than a thousand screens across the Gulf by 2023, of which 600 screens will be in the kingdom, according to published reports.  

In a move set to improve foreign investments inflow into the kingdom, Saudi recently reformed its visa system which now enables owners of capital funds and highly skilled expats unlimited or one-year visas without a local sponsor.  

More expansion

Zawya reported that he UAE-based developer is also on track to open three regional malls by 2021, in Egypt, the UAE and Oman, with City Centre Almaza in Egypt set to be the company's next super-regional mall to open in September in 2019.

In April, MAF opened ‘My City Centre Masdar’ in the UAE capital, which marks the company’s 25th shopping mall in the region, and includes the 100th Carrefour Hypermarket store in the UAE.  

Aggressive inorganic growth  

According to LogisticsMiddleeast, MAF is considering a 'long target list' of e-commerce Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As).

The mall operator sees its online orders grow nearly 375 times within two years, the company’s CEO told Arabian Business, on the strength of significant investments in its digital infrastructure last year.

“MAjid Al Futtaim is on target to process around 1.5 million online grocery orders by the end of 2019, up from just 4,000 in 2017,” reported Logistics MiddleEast.

Last October, the company announced an investment in Saudi online grocery delivery platform Wadi which earlier this year completed a 100% acquisition of the brand.

Wamda reported that MAF had first invested $30 million in Wadi.com in November last year after Wadi’s pivot to groceries in early 2018. 

Wadi.com had raised $67 million in the largest Series A (to date) secured by a startup in the MENA.

“Majid Al Futtaim also announced in November the acquisition of Beam Portal, a mobile wallet app operator which allows retailers to accept mobile payments and engage with customers through their smartphones,” reported Logistics MiddleEast.

In January, the retail conglomerate reported that revenue in 2018 rose 8% to reach $9.42 billion.

MAF in pictures

Zawya reported that Image Nation Abu Dhabi, Majid Al Futtaim and MBC Studios have entered into a ground-breaking alliance to launch a major production partnership for film and TV projects across the Middle East.

The partnership actively seeks projects from across the Middle East, with a focus on Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt, and has already begun producing its first project.

MAF is contributing to the partnership through its cinemas arm as both an exhibitor and distributor of films.