By: Mahmoud Gamal
Mubasher: The MBF Group is planning to invest around AED 7 billion ($1.9 billion) in the UAE and abroad in the coming period, founder and owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Faisal Al Qassimi has revealed.
Speaking to Mubasher in an exclusive interview, Al Qassimi explained that investments will cover a host of sectors in five countries, naming the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Angola, and Sudan as his group’s investment destinations.
As for the sectors we plan to invest in, these will be the same as the company’s normal areas of expertise, the top official said, noting that these sectors would include healthcare, education, construction, technology, telecommunications, along with the industrial sector.
In Egypt, the MBF Group is considering between $200 million and $300 million in investments in Sinai’s silicon plant project, Al Qassimi told Mubasher, noting that the project was being carried out in cooperation with Egypt’s General Authority for Investment (GAFI), which had signed an agreement with the UAE group.
Under the deal signed between MBF and GAFI, construction works for the Egyptian silicon plant project are set to begin in the first half of 2019, he added.
The plant will support the group’s strategy of expanding in the industrial sector, particularly the silicon industry, Al Qassimi explained, adding that his company was still in talks with the Egyptian government over a plant for manufacturing tires.
We are still negotiating the tire plant, through which we will export products to European nations from Sinai via the Suez Canal.
The MBF Group’s investments will not stop at this plant but we will also extend our reach to the food products sector added to the healthcare sector through four hospitals, of which one will be in Madinaty in Cairo, while the remaining three will be located in Egypt’s Fifth Settlement district, Al Qassimi told Mubasher in the interview.
At MBF Group, we are also planning to establish a medical city in Madinaty at AED 650 million ($177 million) in investments in the first half of 2019, the top official further revealed, noting that the city would be a fully-integrated one, housing seven main components including a public hospital, recreational garden, nursing academy, and medical equipment mall.
As for the Sharjah-based group’s investments in Saudi Arabia, Al Qassimi said his company was planning to develop a medical city in the kingdom, in cooperation with the city of Madinah’s investment arm, at AED 3 billion ($817.5 million) in investments.
The first stage, of four, of this medical city is slated for delivery in 2020, the MBF Group founder noted, indicating that construction works were set to begin in Q1-19.
The Group is also planning to launch several healthcare projects in its home country, he said, noting that the company has already commenced construction at seven hospitals and 12 primary and specialised healthcare centres across Dubai and Abu Dhabi at around AED 2.5 billion ($681.2 million) in investments.
The GBR hospital is set to begin operation in July 2019, while the oncology unit at the Jumeirah Lakes Tower will begin operation by November next year, Al Qassimi revealed, indicating a third hospital in Abu Dhabi but did not give further details about it.
It is worth noting that the MBF Group previously announced partnering with healthcare providers from the UK and India to manage the oncology hospital in Dubai’s the Jumeirah Lakes Tower.
In the same vein, Al Qassimi revealed that the MBF Group was in talks with the only firm specialised in stem cells so that together they can establish the first hospital using stem cell treatments in the UAE.
In terms of education, the MBF Group’s top official said his company was examining investing in higher education, indicating that there were plans to open three universities between 2020 and 2021. This step comes after the group built two schools in the UAE, he added.
As for the telecom sector, Sheikh Mohammed bin Faisal Al Qassimi told Mubasher that his group was to enter the sector through its unit MBF RM, which was currently widening its footprint in the telecoms segment as well as the healthy food industry.
Through this firm, we are planning to acquire eateries located in hospitals so that we would be the first company to establish and operation healthy food eateries in hospitals in the UAE.
As for investments outside the Arab region, Al Qassimi revealed that his company was close to acquiring a majority stake – of around 60% - in an international financial centre in Istanbul, Turkey, in a bid to bolster its footprint in the Turkish market.
The MBF Group is currently examining several investments in Angola’s diamonds, oil drilling, and chemicals sectors, the MBF Group founder went on, noting that a stable security situation in Sudan would be beneficial to the group and its investments in that country.
We are also mulling over a number of investments in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh worth around AED 1 billion ($272.5 million), Al Qassimi added, indicating that the investments would entail multi-faceted resort for environmental therapeutic tourism.
In his interview with Mubasher, the MBF Group founder further revealed that his company had reached an agreement with Union National Bank (UNB) to arrange its initial public offering (IPO), which would transform MBF from a limited liability company to a publicly traded one.
An IPO for the MBF Group is likely to take place in 2021 in one of the UAE’s two bourses, the group’s founder and chairman revealed.
The MBF Group’s authorised capital amounts to AED 5 billion ($1.4 billion), while its issued and paid-up capital amount to around AED 2.751 billion ($750 million)
Translated by: Nada Adel Sobh