LuLu plans SE Asian money shops

LuLu Group, the Emirates-based retail group, is looking to open a network of money exchanges in southeast Asian countries.

According to media reports in the Gulf, Lulu Group plans money exchanges in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, where it opened a liaison office late last year.

The company had already announced plans to open hypermarkets in Malaysia and Indonesia and now, according to reports, Hong Kong is on its radar also.

LuLu Group had earlier scheduled its first Malaysian hypermarket in early 2014, but that plan was shelved in favour of expansion within the Gulf states, with new stores opened in Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Now the company says its Malaysian debut is likely in the third quarter of 2015 with a total of six halal-only hypermarkets on the drawing board.

It plans two initially in Indonesia, before assessing further growth potential there.

Meanwhile, its LuLu Exchange branded currency exchange and remittance services unit, which opened in 2008, has entered the Philippines with an headquarters in Manila’s Makati city dubbed LuLu Phils. It plans three branches initially. Due to the high number of Filipinos working in the Middle East, overseas remittances to family back home is second in volume only to India.

LuLu Exchange already has 75 outlets in five Gulf countries and plans another 25 branches in the region in 2015, along with a further 20 in other nations, including in northern and eastern Africa.

LuLu’s founder and MD Yusuff Ali MA is ranked the fourth richest Indian in the Middle East with a net worth of US$2.2 billion. His company turned over nearly $5 billion in 2014.

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