UAE-based retailer Emke Group, which operates the Lulu chain, is reportedly acquiring a stake in London-based The East India Company. This represents one of the first major investment plays for the former outside of its own operations.
The move into high-end retail will see Emke Group pick up 10 percent in The East India Co and 40 percent in one of its key subsidiaries, East India Fine Foods Ltd, Dubai daily Gulf News reported.
“We plan to use the East India Fine Foods platform at both the physical retail and online levels, and across geographies,” said MA Yussufali, Emke's managing director in comments published by the paper.
“There are niches within luxury retail that we can try and create a presence for us in the longer term.”
The report said the deal is expected to be signed in London this week.
Created nearly half a millenium ago, the East India Company was a trading phenomenon and epitomised the driving force behind the global expansion of the British Empire.
Resurrected in 2005 by Indian businessman Sanjiv Mehta, it is currently masterminding its comeback after a hiatus of over 130 years and the Middle East is set to play a pivotal role in the company’s resurgence.
Today, the company has outlets in the Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, as well as stores in Covent Garden and Oxford Street. It has also expanded into Norway, Finland, Austria, The Netherlands, France, Spain and Germany, as well as other countries across Asia and Australia.