Jamjoom plans Saudi expansion after UAE Subway deal

Jamjoom plans Saudi expansion after UAE Subway deal
The deal announced in the UAE will see a big increase in the number of outlets in the Emirates, as well as a major facelift for the chain. (Reuters)
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Updated 25 September 2021

Jamjoom plans Saudi expansion after UAE Subway deal

Jamjoom plans Saudi expansion after UAE Subway deal
  • “We have an ambitious plan to acquire markets and brands in Saudi Arabia" - KOJ group CEO

DUBAI: Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group, (KOJ), the Saudi group that last week announced a major expansion in the UAE via a master franchise deal with US fast-food group Subway, could follow that move with a big initiative in food and beverage in Saudi Arabia.

Hisham Al Amoudi, KOJ group chief executive, told Arab News: “We have an ambitious plan to acquire markets and brands in Saudi Arabia,” without identifying which brands. The move could take place next year, he said.

He cannot disclose the financial cost of the UAE expansion, but concedes it will be a “multi-million dirham initiative” to transform the stores with new training and uniforms for the staff, in addition to the stores’ facelift.

“Over the next 12 months, you will see a big difference,” he said.

Demographic synergy

Subway is run by a different franchise group in the Kingdom, but the attractions and synergies of fast F&B are apparent to KOJ, which operates big global outlets like Lego and Body Shop in addition to its own self-grown brands.

“The synergy lies in the demographic, the locations and the business model,” Al Amoudi said.

Each hour around the world, some 750,000 sandwiches or salads are sold by the ubiquitous Subway outlets, giving the brand fair claim to be the biggest restaurant chain globally.

The deal announced in the UAE will see a big increase in the number of outlets in the Emirates, as well as a major facelift for the chain.

“It is a huge opportunity going forward,” Al Amoudi said. “Subway is making bold and impressive changes to continue to grow its presence in markets around the world,” he added.

There are currently around 145 Subway stores in the UAE, but over the next few years that number will roughly double, and there will be a big change in the look and feel of the US-owned franchise under a refurbishment plan titled “Fresh Forward.”

Modern, minimalist

“The restaurants will look more neat and tidy, more modern, more minimalist, trying to avoid clutter and noise. They will have a new logo and color palette, and — above all — there will be a new emphasis on the taste of the food and the indulgence of the customer,” Al Amoudi said.

The Subway concept was born as a single sandwich store in Connecticut, USA, in the 1960s. Now, there are more than 40,000 stores in over 100 countries. Most are still in America, where it has more outlets than McDonalds and Starbucks combined.

It has formed partnerships with leading global franchise operators, like KOJ, to expand internationally.

“It is a global brand promising guests and customers consistent good experiences, and KOJ subscribed to that. We promise one voice, one message, one operating standard and one great experience,” Al Amoudi said.

Al Amoudi estimates that the total F&B business in the Emirates is worth some 62 billion dirhams, of which half comes from fast food, with the sandwich category accounting for 40 percent of that.

Known in the trade as the QSR model — quick service restaurants — Subway has a flexibility that allows it to adopt multiple store identities. The stores can range in size from 20 to 100 square meters, and can be located in malls, cinemas, high streets — “even inside embassies”, he said.

Subway is also big in the delivery space, which has been given a big boost during the lockdowns and social distancing of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Born in Jeddah

The UAE expansion could be a game-changer for KOJ, which has been operating since 1987 with offices in its Jeddah birthplace, as well as Dubai and Riyadh. In addition to Subway in the UAE, KOJ is one of the biggest franchise operators in Saudi Arabia, where most of its total 675 stores are located.

Al Amoudi sees big synergies between its existing brands and Subway.

In addition to Lego, Body Shop and Early Learning Center, KOJ also has its own unique brands, like the lingerie chain Nayomi, the biggest in the Middle East, as well as the Mikyajy chain of cosmetic stores.

In Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region, it also operates the Mihyar stores that cater to Gulf men with a range of traditional Arab clothing and accessories.

“We have been looking to diversify the group’s business activities, and F&B is a complementary activity. It targets the same profile. We serve the middle classes, we are not a mass or premium business, and Subway also serves the middle market,” Al Amoudi said.


ndia's Reliance gets shareholders' nod to add Aramco chairman as director

ndia's Reliance gets shareholders' nod to add Aramco chairman as director
Updated 28 sec ago

ndia's Reliance gets shareholders' nod to add Aramco chairman as director

ndia's Reliance gets shareholders' nod to add Aramco chairman as director

BENGALURU: India's Reliance Industries Ltd said on Thursday that a required majority of its shareholders have passed a resolution to appoint Saudi Aramco Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan as an independent director to the conglomerate's board.
A little over 98% of the total votes polled on the resolution were in favour of Al-Rumayyan's addition, Reliance said in a statement https://bit.ly/3B233xd.
Last month, Reliance said Al-Rumayyan met all regulatory criteria for his appointment as an independent director, pending the shareholder vote on the decision.
That announcement came after media reports of shareholder California State Teachers' Retirement Fund saying it would vote against the move, based on U.S. proxy advisory research firm Glass Lewis' recommendation.
Al-Rumayyan's inclusion was earlier widely seen as part of a process to formalise Reliance's agreement to sell a 20% stake in its oil-to-chemical business to Aramco for $15 billion. The Indian conglomerate, however, said last month that his appointment has no connection to the deal.
Al-Rumayyan has been the governor of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia since 2015. 


Potential $100 per barrel oil price is unlikely to be sustainable: Jadwa

Potential $100 per barrel oil price is unlikely to be sustainable: Jadwa
Updated 45 min 48 sec ago

Potential $100 per barrel oil price is unlikely to be sustainable: Jadwa

Potential $100 per barrel oil price is unlikely to be sustainable: Jadwa

Riyadh: Oil prices could surge to $100 per barrel but only for a brief period, according to Saudi-based capital market company Jadwa.

The firm’s quarterly oil market report said the rise was conditional on an acceleration in gas-to-liquid substitution during the winter months, combined with any unforeseen outages in oil production.

However, this soaring level of prices is unlikely to persist, if it does indeed hit $100, Jadwa said.

The high level of prices would possibly drive OPEC+ to increase production over the current stated levels to stabilize the markets. Moreover, OPEC expects a decrease in global oil demand in the first quarter of 2022. Both of these developments will diminish the possibility of oil prices remaining at $100 in the short term, Jadwa explained.

Jadwa kept their expectation for 2022 Brent oil at $65. Meanwhile, they stated that there is an increasing risk on their full-year 2021 Brent oil forecast of $67.


Tadawul aims to offer incentives for tech startup firms: Bloomberg

Tadawul aims to offer incentives for tech startup firms: Bloomberg
Updated 21 October 2021

Tadawul aims to offer incentives for tech startup firms: Bloomberg

Tadawul aims to offer incentives for tech startup firms: Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange is discussing introducing incentives for tech startups backed by venture capital investors and technology firms, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter.

The stock exchange’s smaller market, Nomu, is where the small tech firms are expected to raise capital.

Currently, Tadawul doesn’t provide incentives to list on Nomu, but it could offer regulatory waivers for tech startups to speed up their listing, according to Bloomberg.

In the UAE, tech-startups received considerable financing solutions.

In interviews with CNBC Arabia, Ammar Al Malik said that facilities received by tech startups in Dubai Internet City reached AED1.4 billion ($380 million) while Jida Itani, COO of Abu Dhabi-based Hub71, stated that the firm provided over $260 million to startup companies.

Having the diversification of the economy as its target, the Kingdom aims at attracting tech investments as efforts to create more jobs in the labor market gain pace.


Islamic Development Bank announces its final issuances

Islamic Development Bank announces its final issuances
Updated 21 October 2021

Islamic Development Bank announces its final issuances

Islamic Development Bank announces its final issuances

RIYADH: The Islamic Development Bank of Saudi Arabia has announced the price of its second and final issuances as part of its plan to mobilize financial resources.

The Saudi Press Agency reported the final price of issuance instruments by the bank was SR6.3 billion ($1.7 billion), due to five years of annual returns by 1.435 percent, as a part of the bank medium-term instruments program of SR93.7 billion ($25 billion).

The President of the Islamic Development Bank, Muhammed Sulaiman Al-Jassar, said he wanted to "thank investors" for trusting the institution during the recovery from the pandemic.


Private equity giants Blackrock and Blackstone will attend Saudi FII5

Private equity giants Blackrock and Blackstone will attend Saudi FII5
Updated 13 min 31 sec ago

Private equity giants Blackrock and Blackstone will attend Saudi FII5

Private equity giants Blackrock and Blackstone will attend Saudi FII5

Blackrock and Blackstone, two of the world’s leading private investment management companies, will be attending the fifth anniversary of the Future Investment Initiative (FII), the foundation’s chief executive officer said in a press conference on Thursday.

Richard Attias, IFF’s CEO, also added that Africa will occupy a big place in the event, with presidents of Rwanda and Gabon attending, as well as several African speakers and leaders.

The head of the organization indicated that out of the 5200 participants registered for FII5, 70 percent are from Europe and North America.

Chinese attendees will be small in number because of the 3-week mandatory quarantine, but about 50 speakers from the country will be contributing, he added.