MILAN - Italy's OTB signed a joint venture (JV) agreement with Dubai-based luxury distributor Chalhoub to expand the fashion group's brands in the Middle East, the companies said in a joint statement on Friday.

OTB - which stands for Only The Brave - aims to strengthen, "with significant investments", the presence of its Jil Sander, Maison Margiela and Marni labels in the region with new openings, enhancing its own e-commerce sites and through local marketing activities.

The deal is looking to open more than 15 new retail stores over the next 5 years, focusing on the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait markets and presence in key department and concept stores across the region, the statement added.

"We want to introduce the beauty of our brands to the Middle East and spread it throughout the region, one of the world's most interesting markets today," OTB Founder and Chairman Renzo Rosso said.

(Reporting by Claudia Cristoferi, editing by Giulia Segreti)