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Sights set on Oman with aggressive expansion in Qatar

Qatar: Thursday, December 13 - 2012 @ 10:49

Al Meera implements projects on the ground in Oman
“Our expansion into Oman capitalizes on the successes we have had in Qatar and transfers it to this regional and important market,” explained Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al Qahtani, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Al Meera.

“This expansion into Oman further diversifies our income portfolio, a value-added element for all our shareholders.”

In the agreement, Al Meera Holding Company L.L.C., a subsidiary of Al Meera Consumer Goods Company Q.S.C., (owned 99% by the Company and 1% by Al Meera Central Markets Company S.P.C.), and Al Meera Development Company L.L.C. (owned 99% by the Company and 1% by Al Meera Central Markets Company S.P.C.), will purchase all the assets of the ‘Safeer’ stores in the Sultanate. The supermarkets and hypermarkets will be jointly managed by Al Meera and the Omani National Investment Funds Company S.A.O.C. (NIFCO).

Renovations and refurnishing have already started to ensure all the stores are rebranded to ‘Al Meera’ in the first quarter of 2013. The purchase includes three supermarkets and two 5,000 square meter hypermarkets. A total of five stores will be operated, two of which are located in the capital, Muscat, with the company actively looking to purchase or lease more properties in the coming year.

This agreement comes on the heels of the continuous government efforts of both the state of Qatar and the Sultanate of Oman to build mutually beneficial projects and increase cross country projects and investments.

“We are proud to say that we are the first physical manifestation of the Qatari-Omani cooperation to date,” added Dr. Al Qahtani. “It is through wise agreements such as these and high-level support from our leadership that allows companies such as ours to flourish and grow.”

Al Meera partners with local firms to enhance facility operations and management

MOUs were also signed to expand Al Meera’s product and brand offerings here in Qatar. Just recently, the Company moved to streamline its own internal processes and manage its own facilities. The agreement, between the Company and its all of subsidiaries, will see a joint venture developed with both Regency Group Holding (a company specializing in facility management solutions) and Aramex International Courier Express, in order for Al Meera to build and fully manage its own logistic facilities operations in the near future.

“As we move forward with our aggressive expansion plan within Qatar, we are simultaneously aiming to enhance our abilities in developing and managing our own facilities,” said Dr. Al Qahtani. “We are therefore pleased to come into an agreement with both Regency Group W.L.L. and Aramex International to support us in our goal. They are both leaders in their own fields and we look forward to even further developing our relationship with them as we progress through our partnership.”

In the initial stages, a distribution centre will be set up just south of Doha on a 90,000 square meter plot. The centre will be built in several phases, with the first stage seeing a 10,000 square meter warehousing facility being developed, with plans to expand the warehouse by four times in future phases. The facility will serve to provide a variety of value-added services, including third party ambient temperature warehousing, third party temperature controlled storage, and other logistical services such as domestic trucking, customs clearance, and express and freight services.

This robust and state-of-the-art warehouse will serve Al Meera’s current requirements, and will cater for future growth as well at competitive rates. Al Meera and its partners will co-manage the design and construction of this and future facilities.

Other agreements during the past year have seen Al Meera bring three international and regional brands here to Qatar, which includes the brand of WH Smith Travel Ltd, the Thai-based Index Living Mall Company Ltd. (“ILM”), and United Electronics Company (a Saudi electronic company owning the brand name “eXtra”).

“Our expansion strategy does not only include building more outlets as to increase access to our stores, but additionally to increase our product offerings,” said Dr. Al-Qahtani. “With an ever-expanding economy and a diverse consumer base in Qatar, demands and expectations of the country’s residents are increasing. Bringing these three brands to Qatar is telling the people of Qatar that we are listening.”

W H Smith, one of the most authentic bookstores, will open soon in Qatar
The British-based WH Smith Travel Ltd. is one of the oldest global brands, with over 550 bookstores falling under their portfolio, offering everything from books, stationary, magazines, and newspapers, to entertainment. Al Meera will operate its franchise here in Qatar, with the first stores to be located in Ezdan Mall, Giant Hyatt Plaza, and Nuaja Mall.

Thai-based Index Living Mall, a furniture production and design company, will also come to Qatar. Under the franchise agreement, Al Meera Holding has been granted exclusive rights to establish and operate home furnishing stores in Qatar under the names of ‘Index Living Mall’, ‘Index Furniture Center’ and ‘Winner’. In addition to the franchise agreement, an exclusivity agreement with ILM has also granted Al Meera Holding an exclusive right for three years to develop and operate in Egypt, Jordan and Oman, stores or businesses under ‘Index Living Mall’ or ‘Index Furniture Center’ trade names or trademarks.

Al Meera also inked a deal with Saudi-based United Electronics Company (UEC), which will see a joint venture formed in Qatar, leading to the development of ‘eXtra’ electronics stores in the country. The agreement envisions that both Al Meera and the United Electronics Company will both contribute equally to the joint venture capital. The stores will be opened under the ‘eXtra’ brand, a name that has been associated in Saudi Arabia for decades for their quality goods.

Al Meera continues to undertake new projects in Qatar
Other than expanding its product and brand portfolio, Al Meera has been fervently working to ensure that every resident in Qatar is within a short distance from the retail stores.

The company will shortly open three new branches in Al Hilal, Beverly Hills Tower in West Bay, and the Beverly Hills 3 compound in Waab. The Sealine seasonal outlet will also become a permanent fixture as of next year, effectively starting from the first quarter of 2013

Special thank you to the members of the Central Municipal Council
We would especially like to thank the members of the Central Municipal Council for their effective and uninterrupted support to ensure there is no delay in the speed of execution if all approvals from the authorities are completed in a timely manner. This will help us to establish branches in the designated areas to better serve residents as planned. The DC1 consent has been obtained for the following branches

Notes Land number Area District name No.
51931061 10506 Rawda Qadim 1
53562615 9082 AlWajba 2
53110187 4912 Muaither (north) 3
55130010 3250 AlAzizyah 4
75010423 8375 AlThakheira (Om Onaik) 5
90040783 10673 Al Wakra 6
47078015 7403 Al Thumama 7
54600043 13554 Al Muraikh 8
68030472 18519 Jirian Nagima 9
Under construction 66150131 10000 Al Qoutaifya 10

A total of 38 outlets in Qatar and Oman will be run by Al Meera, of which four are hypermarkets, (over 5,000 square meters), 23 are supermarkets, and 11 are convenience stores (less than 500 square meters).

“Over the last three years, we have expanded our operations with 14 additional branches in Qatar and abroad, and have doubled our retail area, from 28,000 square meters in 2009 to more than 60,000 by the end of this year,” explained Dr. Al-Qahtani. “In addition we count 20 on-going supermarket projects in Qatar of which at least 10 should open within the coming 10 to 18 months. Through such ambitious organic expansion plan, we reaffirm our intent to remain the market leader in Qatar – our home country – and to operate 100,000 square meters of retail space by 2017.”

To fund this aggressive and ambitious expansion, Al Meera shareholders agreed to a rights issue beginning next year to increase the Company’s capital by another nine hundred and fifty million Qatari riyals. This comes in addition to the two billion nine hundred million Qatari riyals raised by the Company in negotiations with Qatari financial institutions.

“At our last Extraordinary General Meeting, shareholder approved our proposal to increase the capital through a rights issue of 100 % of total capital to the existing shareholders,” concluded Dr. Al-Qahtani. “With the additional funds secured from the banks, it’s full steam ahead for Al Meera as we strive to become the ‘neighborhood’s favorite retailer.”

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Thursday, December 13- 2012 @ 10:49 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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