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EMKE Group plans outlets in Saudi, Egypt and India

Khaleej Times reported that UAE-based retail giant EMKE Group, which is eyeing a larger share of the regional retail market, has plans to enter the fast growing economies of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and India with ambitious business plans.

The group, which operates 66 shopping outlets under the flagship Lulu brand, is adding three new stores this week itself. The first one was opened in the newly launched Khalidiyah Mall in Abu Dhabi, which will be followed by Barka in Oman today and Karama in Dubai on January 16.

Talking to Khaleej Times, Yusuffali MA, managing director of the group said, After firmly establishing our presence in the region we are now focusing on increasing our retail network both in the existing as well as new markets. With the opening of these three hypermarkets our total store count will reach 69 and we intend to hit the 75 mark by the end of the year, he added.

This position will be further consolidated this year with Lulu entering the Saudi market.

He said the group has got tremendous response from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and India for its plans to enter into those markets. The group is finalizing its plans to open shopping outlets in the three large economies very soon, he added.

Commenting on the international competition Yusuffali said, We always welcome competition as this brings in new ideas and helps us set higher standards. Even with the presence of big international players the reason we have grown in numbers in both store as well as shoppers, is because of our approach.

He said that EMKE Group has always been international in its approach, whether it is store layouts, quality of products and services, product profile or even staff.

The group, which last year diversified into shopping malls and real estate, has already launched three malls: Al Wahda Mall, Khalidiyah Mall and Al Raha Mall in Abu Dhabi, with seven projects coming up in other cities in GCC and India.

Egypt s Alcotexa sells 4,682 tons of cotton in week

Reuters reported that the the Alexandria Cotton Exporters Association (Alcotexa) said on Sunday it had committed to sell as exports 4,681.5 tons of cotton in the week ended January 12.

An Alcotexa official broke down the sales as 73 tons of Giza 45, 12.5 tons of Giza 87, 1,896 tons of Giza 88 and 2,700 tons of Giza 86.

The new commitment brings Alcotexa s export commitments for the season, which began in September, to 99,938.05 tons of cotton worth $205.83 million, the official added. -Agencies

Hilton to launch HHonors Event Bonus program

Hilton Hotels Corporation has launched a new approach to rewarding event organizers with Hilton Hhonors Event Bonus program.

Part of Hilton HHonors customer loyalty program, this tailored offering available at all Hilton Egypt hotels now delivers more reward and recognition for those who contract events and services through Hilton s sales teams. HHonors points and airline miles can now be earned against each dollar spent on an event. These can be accrued against an extended range of events and charges, and redeemed for airline miles or Hilton stays and services.

The $1,000 minimum is waived until March 2008 for Egypt hotels, and redemption points can be claimed by individuals or event companies through newly introduced Event Credits.

Azza Serry, senior director of business development for Hilton Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon & Africa, said, The Hilton HHonors Event Bonus has been developed with feedback received from top event organizers, in recognition of their long-standing association with the Hilton brand.

136 companies established last week, says investment minister

According to Al Gomhoryah, Minister of Investment Mahmoud Mohieldin announced that during the last week, 136 new companies were established with an issued capital of LE 407 million.

These companies are expected to provide 3,137 job opportunities, and are in the sectors of agriculture, tourism, services, industry and more, in a number of Egypt s governorates. -Arab Finance

Steel market in Egypt is monopolized: former economy minister

According to Al Masry Al Youm, former economy minister Sultan Abu Ali said that Egypt’s steel market is monopolized, with only one producer controlling 60 percent of the market.

He added that, theoretically and practically, if four producers gain 65 percent of the market, then there is monopoly. Abu Ali said there should be governmental intervention to bring the market back to equilibrium. -Arab Finance

Banned camel from Sudan still at Egypt border

Recently, the export of some 20,000 camels has been banned at the Sudanese border with Egypt as a measure against the spread of Rift valley Fever. Sudanese authorities denied that these animals carry the infection.

Idris Suleiman, deputy head of mission at the Sudanese embassy in Egypt, said unfounded reports related to cases of Rift Valley Fever among Sudanese livestock caused huge losses in the national economy that reached nearly $1 billion. Losses were incurred by both the private and the public sector, he added.

The animals have been staying at the border for over 40 days now, while the disease causes death in less than five days, Idris said.

The disease caused row over its cause between the ministry of health which had warned people from easting meat and the ministry of Animal Resources which claimed there is no sign of Rift Valley Fever among livestock.

The deadly virus can be transmitted to humans by handling of animal tissue during slaughtering or butchering, helping with animal births and in veterinary procedures. Human infections can also result from mosquito bites and consuming unpasteurised or uncooked milk or meat of infected animals, according to the WHO.

The World Health Organization (WHO) at the end of December 2007 warned that Rift Valley Fever has spread rapidly in Sudan, with 218 fatalities and 631 infections since its outbreak in October. -AFP

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