DUBAI, April 12 – Middle-East retail chain, Lulu Hypermarket, will expand its wings to Malaysia with the opening of its first hypermarket in Jalan Masjid India soon. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is on a five-day working visit to Dubai, met senior directors from Lulu Group International, which owned more than 100 Lulu hypermarkets in the region, at the invitation of its patron, Yousuf Ali M.A. Muhyiddin said during the meeting lengthy discussions were held on steps to be taken and proposals on setting up the hypermarket which would retail and market halal products in Malaysia. He said Lulu, which is expected to invest about US$200 million on opening its Malaysian operations, would open five hypermarkets initially in Malaysia with Felda as its joint venture business partner.

“This is the first time the group is going into a joint venture with another company. They have their own capacity to carry out the operations on their own,” he told Malaysian reporters after the meeting. The agreement between Lulu and Felda is expected to be signed soon either in Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Kuala Lumpur, he said. Muhyiddin also proposed that the cooperation be extended to include Lulu using its vast operations to help Malaysia export its food, vegetables and tropical fruits. “The strategic cooperation will help Malaysia export its products to West Asia and wherever Lulu has its branches, like in Indonesia. This will help Lulu boost its sales turnover of about US$5 billion a year,” said Muhyiddin who also visited the Lulu hypermarket here which retails Malaysian products. He said Lulu has agreed to help encourage contract farming to source vegetables from Cameron Highlands. “With this agreement, many farming products can be exported. Contract farming can offer opportunities to local farmers.

“The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries has been informed of the matter and asked to create formal partnerships,” he said. During the meeting, Muhyiddin said the Lulu management raised the issue of logistics, especially that related to air freight of products and goods that were easily perishable. The matter, he added, would be brought to the attention of Malaysia Airlines to ensure the freight charges were not too expensive. Asked about the impact Lulu Hypermarket would have in Malaysia, Muhyiddin said the opening of such facilities would provide healthy competition and ultimately benefit consumers. “The government will not curtail healthy competition as it will keep prices competitive,” he added. Lulu Group International Executive Director Ashraf Ali M.A. said the hypermarket would not sell alcohol and would ensure its products are competitively-priced. He said Felda would build the premises which would house the hypermarket.

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