Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim to push ahead with store openings despite income fall

Mall developer's earnings fell 19% in 2020

Majid Al Futtaim's City Centre Al Zahia. Image for illustrative purposes.

Majid Al Futtaim's City Centre Al Zahia. Image for illustrative purposes.

Majid Al Futtaim / Handout via Zawya

Dubai’s mall developer Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) said it plans to continue its expansion in the region and other markets with a slew of new store and cinema openings.

The company, which develops shopping malls across the Middle East, reported on Wednesday that its revenue fell seven percent to 32.6 billion dirhams ($8.8 billion), while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) also dipped 19 percent to 3.8 billion dirhams in 2020.

The company’s assets decreased six percent to approximately 59.1 billion dirhams.

Despite the decline, Majid Al Futtaim chief executive officer Alain Bejjani said last year’s performance reflected the resilience of their workforce, business model and diverse portfolio, as well as their operational agility, proactive investments and prudent financial risk management.

“The fact that we have experienced growth in some of our businesses during a year of unprecedented disruption is a testament to the importance that should always be placed on people, the planet and our collective progress. For me, this is stakeholder capitalism in action, and it makes me optimistic about our future,” Bejjani said.


MAF’s property division saw a decline of 24 percent in revenue and 21 percent in EBITDA, standing at 3.5 billion dirhams and 2.3 billion dirhams, respectively.

Its hotels saw a 60 percent drop in occupancy rates due to reduced demand as a result of border closures, travel restrictions and lower capacity. 

In retail, the Carrefour business recorded a revenue decrease of 1 percent to 28 billion dirhams while its EBITDA grew by 14 percent to 1.6 billion dirhams.

However, MAF’s online sales rose nearly 200 percent across all markets, contributing three percent of its total revenue in 2020. 

The company said that this year, it plans to open City Centre Al Zahia and Mall of Oman.

New stores will also be established in Kenya, Uganda and Uzbekistan.

In the next five years, the company intends to open multiple stores in Egypt, expand in Saudi Arabia and scale up its e-commerce capacity to meet growing online demand across the region.

Its cinemas segment will go ahead with plans to open 30 new VOX Cinemas screens that were earlier planned for 2021.

The company said its financial and liquidity position remains strong, with cash and available committed facilities covering its net financing needs for at least the next three years.

It has no material debt maturity until 2023, and its net debt position has been reduced to 12.4 billion dirhams through “rigorous focus” on cash flow across the business.

(Reporting by Brinda Darasha; editing by Cleofe Maceda)

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© ZAWYA 2021

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