Two NRI-owned business groups based in the United Arab Emirates have inked separate pacts with the government of Telangana that will infuse investments worth Rs 3,500 crore in the state. While LuLu Group, owned by retail czar Yusuff Ali M.A, will invest Rs 2,500 crore, BRS Ventures (a group company of BR Shetty Group) will set up ventures worth Rs 1,000 crore over five years.
The agreements were signed during the visit of KT Rama Rao, the Indian Minister for IT and Industries, in Abu Dhabi on Jan. 28.
The Lulu group will set up a mega shopping mall spread over 1.8 million sq.ft in Hyderabad. “Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao will lay the foundation stone for the mall project in Hyderabad in three months. It is expected to provide jobs to 6,000 people,” a government statement said. It will also invest in a food processing plant as well as a logistics-cum-export processing unit for fruits and vegetables.
Dr BR Shetty’s group, which is involved in healthcare, food, financial services, retail and IT in the UAE will set up a pharmaceutical manufacturing, R&D unit and a medical device manufacturing unit on approximately 20 acres land at Telangana Medical Devices Park, Sultanpur, Hyderabad. It will also set up a Greenfield multi-specialty hospital, as well as higher education institutions offering medical, engineering and management courses near Hyderabad, according to the company statement.
Ali said that as part of the expansion plans for India, the LuLu Group is excited to sign the MoUs with the Indian state. “We will begin the work within three months as the Telangana govt has already initiated the process to hand over the land to us,” he said. “Telangana being the newest state offers great potential for expansion and the kind of support and cooperation we have been receiving from the government has been very encouraging,” he added.
“We have always wanted world-class facilities for our state, especially in the retail and food sector. Being a leader in these sectors, Lulu Group is our natural choice and we have extended our fullest support and look forward to working with them in many more projects in the future,” said Rao.
Ali, who has been called the retail king of the Middle East by Forbes, belongs to Kerala and migrated to Abu Dhabi in 1973. The firm owns 132 stores in the Gulf region. The hospitality wing of the group owns Dubai’s first Steigenberger hotel, a luxury hotel brand from Germany, and the Sheraton hotel in Muscat. He was voted as the most influential Asian business leader in the GCC region by Forbes in 2015.
With an annual turnover in excess of $6.9 billion and staff strength of over 40,000, the LuLu Group is considered a major player in the economic scenario of the Middle East. The group is spearheaded by the retail division and has interests in hypermarkets, shopping malls, imports and exports, trading, shipping, IT, travel and tourism and education.
Dr BR Shetty, who is also considered one of the most powerful NRI businessmen, too moved to the UAE in 1973 and set up the New Medical Centre (NMC), one of the largest private healthcare providers in the country. The company now runs 55 healthcare facilities across the world, which cater to more than five million patients annually.