Maf opens Mall of Egypt in Cairo, complete with indoor ski slope

Maf first entered Egypt 15 years ago with Carrefour supermarkets in Cairo and Alexandria.

The Mall of Egypt in Cairo is part of Majid Al Futtaim's Dh5.1 billion investment in the North African country. Courtesy Maf
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Majid Al Futtaim (Maf), the conglomerate behind Mall of the Emirates, has opened its Dh2.6 billion Mall of Egypt in Cairo featuring Africa’s first indoor ski slope.

The mall, which is part of a Dh5.1bn investment in the North African country, has 165,000 square metres of gross leasable area, with 350 local and international retailers, 21 Vox cinemas and a family entertainment centre, the company said yesterday.

Maf first entered Egypt 15 years ago with Carrefour supermarkets in Cairo and Alexandria.

“Egypt is an important market for Majid Al Futtaim and launching mega projects like Mall of Egypt reaffirms our strong belief in the vast opportunities available in the Egyptian market,” said Ghaith Shocair, the chief executive of shopping malls at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, a unit of Maf.

Maf, which has 21 shopping malls, said in 2015 it planned to double in size within five years as it increases investments across Arabian Gulf countries and Egypt.

The group is forging ahead with expansion plans after registering an 8 per cent increase in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation to Dh4.1bn last year thanks to broad-based growth.

The company will carry forward plans to expand in markets such as the UAE, Egypt, Oman and Saudi Arabia and will also bolster its operations in Africa and Central Asia.

Maf, whose revenue rose by 9 per cent to Dh29.9bn last year, attributed this growth to new hypermarkets, supermarkets and family entertainment centres across the company’s geographic reach.

In June, the group announced a 10-year plan to invest Dh30bn in the UAE, its biggest market.

It plans to open 10 City Centre malls, six hotels, 28 cinemas, 40 Carrefour supermarkets and a 740,000 sq metre master-planned community over the next 10 years, which will generate about 170,000 jobs directly and indirectly.

Maf is also launching an indoor ski slope in Saudi Arabia as part of a 14bn Saudi riyal (Dh13.71bn) investment in the kingdom.

In Oman, Maf announced in May a further investment of Dh5bn over the next four years.

Maf, which has exclusive rights to the Carrefour supermarket franchise in 38 markets across the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, last year opened 10 supermarkets and 10 hypermarkets, including one in Nairobi, Kenya – the company’s first hypermarket in Africa.

Last week it opened its second Carrefour hypermarket in Nairobi, at the Two Rivers Mall.

Besides its 21 malls, Maf owns and operates 12 hotels and three mixed-use communities, with further developments under construction.

The conglomerate welcomed 172 million customers last year to it shopping malls, a rise of 2 per cent on 2015, while occupancy at its retail centres was at 98 per cent. Revenue per available room at its hotels fell by 8 per cent last year compared with 2015.

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