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Landmark Group plans Saudi listing

Abdul Basit / 11 April 2010

DUBAI — Landmark Group, one of the largest retail conglomerates in the Middle East, plans to go public and has selected the Arab world’s largest stock market — Saudi Arabia — for its listing, a top executive of the group said.

“It’s on the drawing board for Saudi Arabia and for the UAE that would be in the next phase,” Landmark Group Chief Executive Officer Vipen Sethi told Khaleej Times in an interview.

Without disclosing further details and exact date for the stock market listing, Sethi said, “We don’t have a date on that at the moment and it will take time. May be in the next 24 months.”

Established in 1973 from a Babyshop in Bahrain, the group has grown into one of the largest and most successful retail organisations in the Middle East and India.

With a turnover in excess of $3.2 billion during 2009-10, the group has achieved a consistently strong financial performance at a compound annual growth rate of 25 per cent over the last five years.

Sethi said that the group recorded a 22 per cent growth in sales last year despite tough economic environment. The group operates over 900 stores encompassing over 13 million square feet across GCC, India, Egypt, Turkey, Yemen and Pakistan.

“Our group is very well diversified and we are ready for the next growth phase that the Gulf market will see and the UAE will see,” Sethi said.


Sethi disclosed that the group has planned to expand its business operations with an investment of more than $150 million in the next three years. India is not included in this allocation and there will be a separate investment plan for India, he said.

“The recession has been harsh on the retail industry but it’s time to look forward having seen the worst of it. We are optimistic about a full recovery in the foreseeable future and hence would not hold back on our expansion plans,” he said.

As part of its expansion drive, Landmark Group recently opened 25 retail brands and three restaurants covering a total retail space of over 300,000 square feet at Mirdif City Centre. This has been the biggest achievement by any retailer in the UAE so far on one single day.

Outside the GCC, the group is looking to drive growth in Egypt and further expand its footprint to Lebanon and Libya. “We are looking to go to Algeria, Syria, Morocco and Tunisia.

MAF developments

In 2009, the group took up over 150,000 square feet of retail space for Centrepoint, Home Centre, New Look and Max in Alexandria City Centre, Egypt — another Majid Al Futtaim, or MAF, development. This was in addition to a 23,000 square feet Splash outlet opened at Maadi City Centre also  in Egypt.

The Group currently occupies close to 1.1 million square feet across 10 MAF malls, which is about 11 per cent of total gross leasable area in MAF properties in the region. Landmark Group is perhaps one of the most significant tenants in MAF Properties across the region, he said.

Vipen said: “Majid Al Futtaim Properties have contributed immensely to the region’s retail landscape by developing malls that are of world-class standards. Mirdif City Centre will no doubt establish itself as a retail destination of choice.”

India operation

India operations started 10 years ago. The group has its presence in 21 cities of India with 121 stores covering a retail space of around 2 million square feet.

Its sales jumped by 37 per cent to $306.5 million during 2009-10 compared to $224.3 million sales during the 2008-09 period.


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