Royal family moves to invest in Lulu group in Dubai

By Gulf News

An investment firm backed by a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family has agreed to buy a stake worth $1 billion in LuLu Group International.

Lilu runs one of the Middle East’s largest hypermarket chains.

The company led by Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan acquired an almost 20 per cent holding in the Abu Dhabi-based supermarket group founded by Indian entrepreneur Yusuff Ali, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private.

Reliable sources said the it wasn’t immediately clear which company Sheikh Tahnoon is using for the investment or if he was buying the stake in his personal capacity.

Sheikh Tahnoon is the chairman of Royal Group, which has holdings in businesses such as media, trade, financing and real estate among others, according to its website. He is also the chairman of First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE’s biggest lender.

“We don’t want to comment on market rumors,” said V. Nandakumar, Lulu’s chief communications officer. “An official statement will be issued if at all there are any updates.”

Abu Dhabi, holder of about 6 per cent of the world’s proven oil reserves, is investing in local businesses to diversify its economy away from crude.

At just over $1 billion, the LuLu deal ranks among one of the UAE’s largest consumer deals in recent years.

LuLu operates shopping malls and other businesses such as hospitality and real estate with annual turnover of about $7.4 billion and employs more than 50,000 people, according to its website.