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Sun 9 Mar 2014 10:13 AM

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UAE retail giant Jumbo eyes Iran expansion

Electronics retailer also wants to expand engineering, B2B businesses in GCC and India

UAE retail giant Jumbo eyes Iran expansion
Jumbo CEO Vishesh Bhatia.

UAE retail electronics
giant Jumbo Group has revealed plans to grow its engineering and B2B businesses
as it also seeks to expand its retail footprint in the GCC, India and Iran.

Jumbo CEO Vishesh Bhatia
said after an unfavourable business analysis put plans for a food and beverage
franchise venture on hold, the company decided to seek out new opportunities
for its existing ten-year-old subsidiary — Jumbo Engineering, a mechanical,
electrical and plumbing (MEP) business.

“We’re building that one
up and putting money into that business,” he said in an interview published in
Arabian Business on Sunday. “I see that - in another three years’ time - to be
a significant part of our portfolio.”

Bhatia said its other
focus was on expanding its B2B business through its value-adding enterprise
business division, which focused on areas such as print management processes,
IT services and computer and copying supplies.

“We have great contracts
with the likes of Emirates Airline, Etihad, ADNOC has just been opened up, Travel
Report, Abu Dhabi Airport,” Bhatia said.

Currently Jumbo
Engineering and the B2B business made up about 15 percent of Jumbo Group
turnover. However, Bhatia said he would be happy if it grew to 25 percent
within three years.

Bhatia said its retail operations, which make up a third
of its business, were also expanding.

It has 27 retail stores across the emirates, has just
opened a store at Dalma Mall in Abu Dhabi and is in talks with developers of
the under-construction Yas Mall.

Bhatia said its market focus was the UAE and other GCC
countries, especially Oman and, potentially, Kuwait down the track. However, it
also had 15 stores opening in India, which Bhatia described as a new frontier
given it is “up against the big boys out there”.

However, Jumbo is still pursuing new geographies with
plans for the wider Middle East, including the oil-rich northern Iraqi region,
Kurdistan, in a reflection of the wider influx of recent business into the
recovering economy.

Across the border, however, and Iran is also firmly in
Bhatia’s sights if economic sanctions are lifted.

“We’re preparing ourselves in the event that the country
across the waters is accepted by the West and there are no sanctions against it
and if that happens then we are kind of poised to do business out there.”

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twistedtory 5 years ago

Bhatia should not get ahead of the lifting of sanctions in Iran, or may find Jumbo the target of very public punitive action by western governments.