Pakistan’s richest man Mian Mohammad Mansha — is preparing the ground for a major international push in Dubai.
This will be a two-pronged approach that will see the entity — which has assets of $5 billion (Dh18.3 billion) — take exposure in commercial real estate here, through stores and two warehouses, as well as raise its profile in financial services. The first warehouse, in the Al Quoz industrial area, is already set up and a second would follow in Jebel Ali Free Zone.
This, the group believes, would create the logistics base that would support its expansion into the GCC with its retail operations and later into Europe.
Banking is a prime prospect. The group owns MCB Bank, among the more profitable of Pakistani banks, and Adamjee Insurance, one of the largest insurance companies.
The banking side of it could now be leveraged for a local presence.
MCB has their own banking representatives already in the region and now their asset management division is also exploring options to enter the GCC. The group already has a local presence through its insurance arm.
But it’s from the retail interests that Nishat is expecting the short- to mid-term gains. The first Nishat Linen store has already opened in Dubai Festival City, and the plans are to have six of these in the UAE before the end of the year and 25 stores across the Gulf within the next two. The UAE launch also marks the retail brand’s first foray outside its home market.
They could have started this a couple years earlier, but the uncertainties after 2008 saw many of their plans get into a wait-and-watch approach.
Not only will these stores give Nishat Group reach across all geographical areas, it will provide them with an economic volume to pay for the support staff and services such as warehousing and logistics that they need to do justice to this venture. A single store will not give them the flexibility to test market various product ideas simultaneously which is essential to develop a long term strategy for the region.
In the recent past, Asian retail brands have been to the fore in trying to establish a beachhead in the Gulf markets. In this context, the entry of Nishat Group is as big as it comes.
Country’s Richest Man
The founder of Nishat Group, Mian Mohammad Mansha, is on the Forbes rankings as the richest man in Pakistan. He was the first in the country to make it to the list. Apart from Nishat Textiles, which is the largest exporter in the country, the group also has diversified interests in financial services, power and aviation.
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