Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim CEO Says Weighing Bid for Dunia

  • Retail conglomerate aims to double profit in five years
  • Expansion strategy will mainly focus on organic growth

Majid Al Futtaim Holding LLC aims to double profit in five years and is weighing an offer to acquire Abu Dhabi consumer finance firm Dunia Finance LLC as part of the plan, according to Chief Executive Officer Alain Bejjani.

“Dunia is an opportunity that was presented to us, so we are looking at it,” Bejjani said in an interview in Dubai. The company has not yet decided whether to make a formal bid, he said. Dunia’s shareholders, including Mubadala Development Co. and a unit of Temasek Holdings Pte, hired Morgan Stanley to explore a sale, people with knowledge of the matter said in July.

Bejjani, 42, who became CEO in February after roles including chief corporate development and brand officer, said acquisitions could be part of MAF’s expansion. Buying privately owned Dunia would be a strategic fit for Majid Al Futtaim’s finance unit, which caters to customers at the group’s malls, he said.

The CEO said the company is targeting a 100 percent increase in profit, revenue and gross lease-able area over the next five years, mainly through organic growth. Majid Al Futtaim operates 18 shopping malls across the Middle East, including Mall of the Emirates, which features the region’s first indoor ski slope.

MAF, as the company is known, has made several acquisitions since it was founded in 1992 by Emirati businessman Majid Al Futtaim. In 2013 it bought Carrefour’s 25 percent stake in its Middle East joint venture for 530 million euros, giving the Dubai-based company full control of the Carrefour stores across the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia.

It also acquired a stake in United Arab Emirates-based mobile payments company Beam Wallet at the end of 2014 for an undisclosed amount, and paid $77 million to buy out Australia’s Amalgamated Holdings Ltd. from its cinemas joint venture in the Middle East in 2010.

“We have done deals in the past to consolidate our ownership in some of our assets as we are focused on creating value and owning and mastering the experience” of our customers, Bejjani said.

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