Malaysian Federal Land development authority (Felda) director-general Y. Bhg. Datuk Faizoull Ahmad (left) and Yousuf Ali M.A. (right) after signing an MoU in the presence of the Malaysian Prime Minister (second from left) and the chairman of Felda. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Lulu Group will mark its first retail push in Malaysia with 10 hypermarket outlets with a total investment value for the initial stage of around $200 million.

The announcement came at a press conference held on Monday where Lulu Group’s Managing Director, Yousuf Ali M.A., signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Malaysia Federal Land Development Authority (Felda). The event was also attended by the Malaysian Prime Minister, Mohammad Najeeb Tun Abdul Razak, who is currently on a three-day official visit to the UAE.

Felda is set to be the land developer for the construction of the hypermarket building, and will lease the hypermarket on a long-term basis.

“Lulu Hypermarket in Malaysia will be the first 100 per cent Halal hypermarket operated by a multinational company. The hypermarket will be part of an integrated development that includes [an] office building, convention centre, hotels, residences, and other unique attractions,” said Tan Sri Isa, chairman of Felda.

Lulu Hypermarkets are targeting to begin operations in Malaysia by early 2016.

With a start-up investment for every hypermarket worth $30 million to $40 million, each hypermarket is expected to create more than 200 job opportunities at all levels, according to Isa.

“Based on current economic outlook and location prospect, it is anticipated that Lulu Hypermarket would gain more than 20 per cent of the domestic market share [in Malaysia],” Isa said.

Lulu’s Yousuf Ali also commented on the project, saying, “Malaysia will be one of the best markets in South East Asia. There are around 27 to 30 million people there, and we’re introducing this Halal concept, so it’s a big potential market.”

The project is expected to open doors to international trade with Malaysia, especially from the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Lulu Group is set to open 17 new hypermarkets globally during 2014-2015 at a total cost of around $1 billion. Seven outlets will be located in the UAE, while four will open in Saudi Arabia, two in Egypt, and one each in Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

The group will also mark its entry into the Indonesian market by opening its first hypermarket there in early 2016.

The Lulu chain currently operates 110 stores across the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, and India.