United Arab Emirates-based supermarket chain Lulu Group said on Monday it plans to invest $200 million on halal-only outlets in Malaysia in the next two years ahead of expanding into other south Asian markets.
Owned by Yusuff Ali M.A, who was ranked first on the Forbes list of the richest 100 Indians in the Arab world last year, Lulu has 110 supermarkets and hypermarkets across the Gulf, Yemen, Egypt and India.
Malaysia, where it plans to open five hypermarkets, will be the group’s first market in South-East Asia.
Lulu signed an agreement with Malaysia’s Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), a state-owned development body. Malaysia’s prime minister Mohamed Najib Tun Abdul Razak, who is on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, was present at the signing.
“With a population of over 29 million, Malaysia needs quality halal-only hypermarkets and we will be the first to operate 100 per cent Halal hypermarkets there,” Yusuff Ali M.A, managing director of Lulu Group told reporters.
Halal products are those permitted under Islamic law.
Lulu’s first hypermarket in Malaysia is scheduled to open by the end of 2015. The five stores there will provide direct jobs for 2,500 Malaysians and indirect employment to 5,000, Yusuff Ali said.
Lulu Group also plans to enter Indonesia next year.
“We plan to open two hypermarkets initially and later expand,” he said without elaborating.
The financing for the retail expansion overseas will be met by the group, he added.