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Dubai’s Marka to invest Dhs250m in 2015, eyes two deals

Dubai’s Marka to invest Dhs250m in 2015, eyes two deals

The company is looking to close deals in the UAE’s hospitality and retail sectors, officials said.

Dubai-based Marka is planning to invest about Dhs250 million and is looking to close two to three more deals during the second half of 2015, the company’s vice chairman and MD said.

“Our next deals will be in hospitality and retail sectors and we have about Dhs250 million to be invested in the remaining part of the year,” said Khaled Almheiri.

The company, which listed in Dubai last year, has invested up to Dhs600 million in various retail and hospitality ventures in the UAE, he added.

Some of its major acquisitions include UK-based e-commerce site Icons, Reem Al Bawadi chain of restaurants and sporting goods store Retailcorp.

“We have completed six acquisitions and signed nine to 11 franchise agreements till date,” said Nick Peel, CEO of Marka.

However, after an active year of investments, Peel said that the company might be turning its focus towards its businesses in order to drive up profits in 2016.

But he did not rule out the possibility of additional investments next year, saying that the company was continuously evaluating different proposals.

“We have been getting a lot of proposals for investments but our priority will be to streamline our operations in order to bring out results.”

Peel also said that he found the UAE’s food and beverage sector offered the most potential for investment. He added that Marka’s next deal, which is due to be announced in another 10 to 14 days, will be in the hospitality sector.

Marka registered a net loss of Dhs8.7 million in the first quarter of 2015. The company is aiming to be profitable by 2016, Almehri said.

“2015 is not the proper year to gauge Marka as we are still consolidating our acquisitions. The year 2016 will be the profitable year,” he said.

During its listing, the company said that it aims to open more than 100 fashion stores, restaurants and cafes in the GCC over the next five years.

Marka was created by a group of prominent UAE businessmen including Jamal Al Hai, a top executive at Dubai Airports, Abubaker Al Khoori, chairman of Abu Dhabi property developer Aldar Properties and Almheiri, who is the founder of Evolvence Capital.

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