(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Majid Al Futtaim, a leading shopping mall, retail and leisure group in the Middle East, unveiled on Tuesday an ambitious 5 billion five-year expansion plan that would enable the Dubai-based conglomerate to double its business to 12 billion by 2018.
Iyad Malas, chief executive officer of Majid Al Futtaim Holding, said the group would invest 1 billion every year over next five years to further expand its presence in the Middle East.
The funding for the massive expansion will be met from the group's own revenue streams and through the capital market, Malas said.
The family-owned 6 billion group, which now operates in 12 international markets with over 26,000 employees, has no plan to go public in the near future, Malas said at a Press briefing to unveil the group's new brand direction.
The extensive expansion into new markets in the Middle East and North Africa region and beyond is aimed at providing an ideal platform to introduce the Majid Al Futtaim brand to entirely-new populations, he said.
"With ambitious plans to double the size of the business by 2018, the company's expansion will be driven by new malls opening in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, residential projects in Lebanon, hypermarkets, cinemas, family entertainment centres and snow park openings," said Malas.
He said following the expansion, a bulk of the additional business would be generated from overseas business, mostly driven by the group's retail chain Carrefour. At present, 70 per cent of the group's business is generated within the UAE.
Malas said the new brand direction would serve the conglomerate to unite its diverse group of companies under one umbrella corporate brand - Majid Al Futtaim - as it embarks on the next chapter of expansion.
"The new brand direction represents the spirit and history of the entrepreneurial company by reinforcing its experiential purpose and vision of its founder, Majid Al Futtaim - 'my dream is to create great moments for everyone, every day'," he said.
The all-encompassing brand strategy adopts the iconic symbol of "M" across the visual identity of the company's brands to create a unifying mark of excellence across its diverse set of assets, including City Centre Malls, VOX Cinemas, Carrefour, Magic Planet Najm Credit Cards, Ski Dubai and Mall of the Emirates.
"This exercise will reinforce the Majid Al Futtaim name behind the unique experiences and brands that are intertwined into the lives of 250 million people who experience our brands each year, yet still allow for each brand to have a strong sense of visual individuality," said Malas. "Creating great moments has always been central to our culture, but has now for the first time been articulated to reflect our responsibility to create exciting living experiences for consumers."
He said the unified corporate identity cascades across the business like a visual identity glue at acts as a 'quality stamp' that will differentiate the group and reinforces its" bold and passionate commitment for the future."
Martin Lindstrom, a leading international branding consultant, worked with Majid Al Futtaim to deliver the new brand direction.
"The new identity is a symbol that has been created to truly represent the spirit and history of Majid Al Futtaim and is so simple that it is immediately recognisable and provides further unification across the company. It takes three essential components that are unique to the heritage of Majid Al Futtaim - the sand, reflected by the colour, which represents the firm's beginnings in Dubai; the arch, which was inspired by the iconic dome from Mall of the Emirates; and the 'M', standing for Majid," said Lindstrom.
Majid Al Futtaim has created some of Dubai's most bold and iconic landmarks, such as Mall of the Emirates, one of the world's most profitable malls, and Ski Dubai, both of which are globally recognised and have helped to transform the city into the modern metropolis that it is today.
Majid Al Futtaim owns and operates 16 shopping malls and 11 hotels in the Mena region, including City Centre malls and Mall of the Emirates, with further developments underway in Lebanon and Egypt. It holds exclusive rights to the Carrefour franchise in 19 markets across Mena and Central Asia, operating a portfolio of 50 hypermarkets and 47 supermarkets in 12 countries.
The family company's bold approach to corporate governance has led it to become the highest credit-rated private company in the Middle East, with investment-grade credit rating (BBB) from both S&P and Fitch.