UAE retail giant Jumbo eyes Iran expansion

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.”

By Arabian Business


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