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Armed with a vision to lead

Galadari Brothers has proudly established a legacy with a diversified portfolio and a renowned partnership with global brands



By Joydeep Sen Gupta

Published: Thu 28 Jan 2021, 3:53 PM

The Galadari Brothers, a Dubai-based conglomerate, was the brainchild of three siblings - Abdul Rahim Galadari, Abdul Wahab Galadari, and Abdul Latif Ibrahim Galadari - in the early 1960s.

The fortunes of the Galadari Brothers are inextricably linked to a young nation like the UAE, whose birth in 1971 occurred a good few years after the firm started taking its baby steps. Initially, the firm, which now boasts over 40 brands and employs more than 5,500 people from 40 nationalities across the world, operated out of rented premises in Dubai.

In 1967, the group's tryst with the ice-cream business started with Lyons Maid. In fact, ice cream made an appearance in Dubai's grocery store refrigerators years before fresh eggs and meat found a pride of place on their shelves.

Galadari Brothers established Galadari Ice Cream LLC and began importing ice cream from Europe. Their major brands included Nestle, Galaxy, and Lyons Maid.

Back in the days, products were shipped from Europe (as refrigerated cargo on ships for unloading offshore in Dubai) since it did not have a deepwater port. The first cream producers in the Trucial States - how the UAE was known prior to the birth of the nation - was Pure Ice Cream Company in Sharjah, which had entered into a joint venture (JV) with India's Kwality Group.

But Dubai wanted its own ice cream, which was made available to the people by Galadari Brothers that embody the corporate entity's enduring vision since inception. Today, the conglomerate's impact and influence can be seen across the board and in several geographies. In 1970, the group set up a new industrial vertical called Arab Emirates Bandac.

It is a brand name to reckon as far as rubber products are concerned. The affiliate of Galadari Brothers has made a mark in the UAE and other member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The subsidiary's singular vision is to develop rubber products for diverse industries ranging from chemical, transportation to oil and gas. Also, in the year prior to the UAE's birth, the prominent business house opened Intercontinental Hotel at Deira in Dubai. It was probably the first five-star property in the Arabian Gulf.

Cut to April 16, 1978. Khaleej Times, the UAE's first English language newspaper, was launched in Dubai in partnership with Pakistan's Dawn Media Group based in Karachi, Sindh. The founding team consisted of Mahmoud Haroon, Muzammil Ahmed and MJ Zahedi. Malcolm Payne was the first editor-in-chief of the publication, which emerged as a credible voice for the young nation that was making a mark on the global stage. Payne had set the editorial template for Khaleej Times and Zahedi was his perfect foil as news editor.

When Payne decided to return to the UK, John Collier took his place as the editor and, in 1981, the baton was passed on to Zahedi who continued Payne's legacy as the newspaper went from strength to strength.

Khaleej Times, which has been a pioneering chronicler of news and events in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, has been in sync with the tumultuous winds of change that has been sweeping the world at large. The marquee masthead, which is at the forefront of a digital push, has captured the signing of the historic Abraham Accords among the UAE, Bahrain and Israel in Washington DC on September 15, 2020.

Khaleej Times has a zeitgeist appeal that goes beyond the ordinary, as it partnered with The Jerusalem Post, the largest English-language media organisation in Israel, earlier this month to launch the UAE-Israel Business Summit, in association with UAE-Israel Business Council. The web broadcast, which was necessitated because of the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, showcased the bilateral business opportunities between the countries.

In retrospect, 1978 was a milestone year for the conglomerate, as it entered into a partnership with Komatsu, a leading Japanese multinational and manufacturer of construction and earthmoving equipment. And 40 years on, the partnership has grown manifold. Komatsu opened a new facility Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) in 2018.

Galadari Trucks and Heavy Equipment Co. Ltd (GTHE) is still the exclusive dealer of Komatsu products in the UAE. It commands a leading 45 per cent share of the UAE market, and has been honoured with Komatsu's Worldwide Highest Market Share Award twice, in 2014 and in 2016.Komatsu has delivered over 10,000 units of equipment in the past 42 years to the UAE market.

In 1979, the influential corporate entity set up a new vertical called Galadari Automobiles Company (GAL), which emerged as a pioneer in the automobile sector in the UAE. The company operates showrooms in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. It provides world-class automotive products and ensures high quality after-sales servicing and customer support.

GAL has established a reputation as a pioneer in automotive sales and earned the trust of thousands of satisfied customers and appreciation from leading motoring media titles.

For motor brands looking to move into the region, GAL provides expert understanding of the local marketplace and the challenging logistics of bringing international brands to the UAE. Galadari Brothers has built a robust infrastructure in the sector in a bid to provide all the subsidiary activities needed to supply, sustain and grow motoring businesses.

In 2019, Mazda was rated one of the top automobile brands whose customers enjoyed the highest satisfaction rate for dealer services among the mass market brands across the UAE, according to the JD Power survey. Data revealed that the Japanese automaker received a 799 score out of 1,000 points and was rated better than most of the brands in the mass automobile market segment.

JD Power survey of after-sale satisfaction showed that Mazda was rated higher than Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford, Honda, Kia, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Renault, Jeep, Chevrolet and Dodge. GMC and Nissan were rated first and second, respectively, in the prestigious survey.

FIRST FACTS

  • First ice cream producers in the UAE
  • First five-star property in the UAE
  • Started the UAE's first English daily Khaleej Times

Baskin Robbins started its Arabian Gulf story, when Galadari Ice Cream Co. (GICC) opened its first parlour at Satwa in Dubai in 1979. The store is still in existence today, marking more than 30 years of spreading joy through ice cream. Children, who grew up during the 1980s enjoying Baskin Robbins are coming back today as adults with their kids in tow to start a whole new generation of indulgence and happiness. GICC is the world's largest franchisee of Baskin Robbins across the world, operating over 800 stores across the Arabian Gulf.

The conglomerate, which was growing at a breakneck speed in keeping with the young nation's ambitious plans, opened a new vertical that set its sights on industrial and construction services in 1980. This was the inception of Galadari Engineering Works (GEW).

Two years later, Galadari Hotel, a five-star property, was opened in the serene and idyllic Sri Lankan capital of Colombo. In 2019, Galadari Hotel had announced that it would invest $15 million (Dh55.1 million) to refurbish the property by this year. Plans are afoot to introduce green concepts.

The refurbishment of the 450-room hotel, which became operational in 1986, is being done in two phases. The second phase of the refurbishment includes the lobby, reception, shops and restaurants, which is progressing despite the Covid-19 challenge.

In 1984, Galadari Brothers acquired the dealership of JCB, one of the largest multinational corporations specialising in manufacturing equipment for construction and agriculture and celebrated its 75th anniversary last year. GB Equipment Solutions, a part of Galadari Brothers Group, has now been the authorised dealer of JCB in the UAE for over 36 years. The same year, Khaleej Times made history when it sponsored the maiden Asia Cup, a 50-over One Day International cricket tournament, in Sharjah.

In 1989, Khaleej Times, which has always embraced cutting-edge technology, introduced computers in its newsroom.

In 1996, Intercontinental Hotel created history and entered the coveted Guinness World Records for making the world's largest cake, measuring one kilometre. The same year, Khaleej Times launched a web edition. Three years later, the daily made another record, by notching up Dh1 million advertising revenue in a day.

In 2002, Khaleej Times moved the printing operation to Al Quoz Industrial Area 1. The MAN Roland Cromoman 50 web printing press with two lines was installed. The machine, which can print a total of 28 pages in full colour - out of which 12 pages were in glossy paper - printed 50,000 copies in an hour. Khaleej Times' digital offering got a boost in 2005, including the launch of a mobile application (app).

In 2014, Galadari Brothers extended its operations to Australia with Palm Oasis Ventures (POV). It is a joint venture between Dunkin' Brands and Galadari Brothers Group. POV inaugurated its first Baskin Robbins corporate store opening in Australia with a number of high-profile international guests in the beachside suburb of Manly, Queensland. In 2018, the corporate group expanded its footprints to Levant, as Baskin Robbins was made available in Jordan.

Over the course of 40-odd years, GICC has developed the Baskin Robbins brand into one of the preeminent ice cream brands in the Middle East. GICC is the master franchisee for the Baskin Robbins brand in the GCC.

GICC has been the first company to introduce an international brand of ice cream in the region and has the largest store network in the Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) industry in the Arabian Gulf region.

In November 2019, GEW (India) Private Limited, a subsidiary of the Galadari Engineering Works (GEW), set up a Dh40m heavy steel infrastructure manufacturing plant in the Sikandrabad industrial belt in Uttar Pradesh. The state-of-the-art plant has generated 1,000 jobs and given a boost to the local economy.

The visionary leadership of Galadari Brothers is being steered by Suhail Galadari and Mohammed Galadari - both co-chairmen - and the young faces of the conglomerate, who are tapping business opportunities in new geographies in an increasingly globalised world.

"Our global expertise in diverse brands makes us one of the leading companies from the UAE to set up shop in Israel backed by the historic Abraham Accords," according to Mohamed Yahya Kazi Meeran, Director and Group CEO of Galadari Brothers.

Time is ripe for Galadari Brothers, which is ably helmed by the Group CEO of Galadari Brothers, to harness its enormous commercial potential.

The conglomerate is poised for robust growth as the UAE is busy preparing for the Next 50 project, which will create the young nation of the future for the next generations.

Onwards and upwards to an upcoming momentous journey in newer geographies in its bid to expand business footprints that will make the UAE proud.

 

 


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