Saudi Arabia to invest in Indian owned Lulu Group

KOCHI: Nearly five months after the Abu Dhabi royal family bought a 20 per cent stake in Lulu Group International, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) – the Saudi Arabian sovereign fund is in talks to buy a minority stake of USD 7.4 billion (Rs 55,800 crore) in Lulu Group – a supermarket chain founded by Malayali businessman Yussuf Ali MA.

According to media reports, neither the deal amount nor the date of finalisation is clear.

Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, is the chairman of PIF which has an investment fund worth more than USD 360 billion (Rs 26 lakh crore) and has invested in many big companies including Noon.com

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In April, the Abu Dhabi government-owned investment company, ADQ, had also invested USD 1.1 billion (Rs 8,000 crore) in Lulu Group businesses except its Indian and Qatar operations. This money is being used to expand Lulu businesses in the new markets of Jordan, Iraq and Morocco.

The Lulu Group spokesman in India confirmed the development but offered no further comment.

“These investments show the confidence the ruling families and big investment funds have in the strength of Lulu Group and its chairman Yusuff Ali MA Lulu operates shopping centres, hypermarkets and hospitality businesses around the world,” said the report.

Lulu Group runs 194 hypermarkets, employs more than 55,000 people and serves more than 1.6 million customers daily with operations in 22 countries. Apart from retail, it has business interests in food processing and hospitality (Grand Hyatt and Marriott in India, Sheraton in Oman, and Great Scotland Yard, London).

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