United Arab Emirates-based Lulu Group, which runs a retail chain of over 120 hypermarkets in the Middle East, has decided to invest Rs 5,000 crore in India over the next four years, largely for setting up shopping malls.
The group, promoted by Indian businessman Yusuff Ali M A, has already zeroed in on constructing mega shopping complexes in Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram.
“We are planning to invest Rs 5,000 crore in India over the next four years,” said Ali, who is also managing director of the group which has operations in over 30 countries.
Ali, who hails from Kerala, also said his company has decided to open 12 hypermarkets in Saudi Arabia at an investment of Rs 2,700 crore in the next few years. The Lulu group currently owns 14 hypermarkets in Saudi Arabia.
About investment in India, the promoter of the company with an annual turnover of $5.5 billion globally, said he was enthused by Indian government’s decision to consider non-repatriable investments by NRIs as domestic investment.
“The business environment in India has improved significantly. A lot of restrictions are removed to facilitate investment. The best thing the new government has done to treat all NRI investment as domestic investment,” Ali told PTI.
He said the decision will help India get investment from the NRI community.
The Forbes magazine had last year listed Ali, a first generation migrant to the Middle East, as the 30th wealthiest Indian and the 737th richest in the world.
Aiming to attract overseas funds, the government recently decided that non-repatriable investments by NRIs, OCIs and PIOs will be treated as domestic investments and not be subject to foreign direct investment caps.
Investments by NRIs under Schedule 4 of FEMA regulations will be deemed to be domestic investment at par with the investment made by residents.
“We have got India’s biggest shopping mall in Cochin. Now we have decided to set up one shopping mall in Thiruvananthapuram, one in Bengaluru, one in Chennai and one in Hyderabad. I am a shopping mall man,” said Ali.
The Lulu group has major businesses in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Yemen.
Lulu group currently has 124 shopping malls. Globally, it employs more than 35,000 people. Lulu hypermarkets and department stores have a 32 per cent share of the retail market in Gulf Cooperation Council countries.