LuLu invests $22 million in new Birmingham hub

Abu Dhabi-headquartered LuLu Group International is investing £15 million ($22 million) in a new 124,000 sq ft European headquarters in Birmingham’s Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMH), with the creation of 80 jobs.
Through its UK-based subsidiary, Y International, LuLu Group will process, package and export 10,000 different products from the Midlands to more than 160 hypermarkets across the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Far East.
Y International works with a wide range of businesses, transporting UK products 3,000 miles to the Gulf and beyond.
Its suppliers include Lovemore, a gluten-free, baked goods company from Aberdare, Wales; Somerset-based The Traditional Free Range Egg Company and Mission Foods, which produces flatbreads in Coventry.
LuLu Group’s portfolio includes hypermarkets, shopping malls, trading, shipping, IT, travel & tourism and education. The company has an annual turnover of more than US $6.9 billion (£5.2 billion).
Tony Perks, director of operations at Y International UK, said: “When comparing potential locations, Birmingham offered a cost-effective and well-connected location, as well as readily-available, high quality space, making our decision easy.
“The acquisition of the land gives Y International the opportunity to construct a large purpose-built production facility. This will enable the company to increase sales and is expected to result in an increase in staff from the existing 160 to 240, all recruited from the local area.”
Y International is expected to move from its current base to the new larger base in around 12 months’ time.
Charles Spicer, a director at Savills, real estate agents that helped to broker the deal, told Arab News: “Birmingham has a ready supply of developable land. The regenerated site is close to the old site, which means employees can still walk to their jobs and Y International has access to a good supply of labor.”
He added: “At 20,000 feet, the new building will be nearly six-times larger… a sizeable increase in space and investment and indicates large scale growth plans for LuLu.”
The company announced similar plans in 2013 when it wanted to export British branded foods to the Middle East.  LuLu Group has been following active expansion plans within the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as India and Malaysia. The UK operations are aimed at expanding operational base for food processing, packaging and export to other regions where the retailer is already present; however the group is also reported to have recently acquired the (luxury hotel) Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh — The Caledonian in Scotland, which is also an indicative of active investment by the group in the region and wider European operations.

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