Lulu Mall.
Picture used for illustration purpose only.Creative Commons/Mail2arunjith

United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Lulu Group, which runs a retail chain of more than 170 outlets, will invest $500 million in Egypt to establish a number of hypermarkets and minimarkets to boost its presence in the Arab world's most populous country, the company said in a statement.

Currently, Lulu has one hypermarket in the capital Cairo where it employs more than 500 Egyptians.

"When we started thinking about investing in Egypt, we had a plan to pump only $100 million, but today we finalised plans to invest $500 million to establish a number of hypermarkets and minimarkets, providing 8,000 sustainable jobs for the Egyptians," said Youssef Ali, Lulu group's chairman and managing director.

An agreement was signed by the retail chain with Egypt's Ministry of Supply & Internal Trade and the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities.

Under the new deals, four projects will be built by the Urban Communities Authority within 12 months. Once completed, the management and operation of these projects will be handed over to Lulu within three to six months.

The investments by Lulu, owned by non-resident Indian billionaire M A Yousuf Ali, will also see the retail chain expanding its hypermarket presence within Egypt's private sector, with another six to be built along with four mini markets.

Wholesale Plan, Logistics Centre

Abu Dhabi-headquartered Lulu Group also said that the retail chain is in the final stages of talks with the Egyptian government on entering the country's wholesale market for vegetables and fruits, as well as establishing a logistics centre to support its expanding retail activities in Egypt.

Early this year, Lulu Group had said it plans to build shopping malls in Bengaluru and Chennai as part of a major expansion of its interests in India. This is on top of the mall projects the Group had announced for three other Indian cities — Lucknow, Vishakapatnam and Thiruvananthapuram. The Bengaluru and Chennai projects are expected to be operational by the end of the year.

The group intends to maintain a similar investment momentum in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, its core markets, as well this year.