The Najibi Group has recently launched an Australian venture – investment and development company Sanad Capital – what prompted this move into the international domain, and why Australia?
The drive to diversify our interests and our investments has always served as an engine for growth at the Najibi Group – it is a guiding objective that has capably steered our expansion into new sectors and new regions over the years. In this case, the timing was just right. We’ve been looking to grow our overseas assets, and have been considering this particular opportunity for a while now, because of the favourable and stable investment environment presented by the region, and some close family relationships we have there, in Australia.
Sanad Capital has now announced a billion-dirham project on the Sunshine Coast; what sort of economic opportunities does this present?
When looking into new regions we always like to take inspiration from some of the great examples of success right here at home in Dubai. And from what has been achieved thus far by the leadership of our ruler, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and the vision he has carved out of the sand and turned into a reality.
We envisage this development in Australia to become an unprecedented destination, a tourist hub, which will serve up some promising economic opportunities. Additionally, it will boost the existing tourist corridor there, led by Australia Zoo, and it will give the state of Queensland and, most importantly, the local Sunshine Coast region’s tourist sector some new energy. As per an economic benefits and analysis report we had produced by the esteemed Brisbane-based economic consultancy and market research firm Urban Economics, this project will inject AUD 60 million into the region’s economy for each year of construction – totalling AUD 260 million during construction – and upon completion it will add AUD 30 million per annum thereafter. Additionally, the incorporation of active-lifestyle elements, favoured there, and some local and new international retail and hospitality components, will serve up lucrative investment opportunities for companies within and outside of Australia.
What countries within the Middle East, and which sectors, do Najibi’s operations currently cover?
When the Najibi group first opened its doors for business, it was based out of Bahrain. Through interests in trade, construction, industry and manufacturing, and hospitality, the group expanded its presence into new sectors as well as new regions. In 1967, in a strategic move, we extended Najibi’s base of operations to Dubai. Currently, in conjunction with our bases in Bahrain and Dubai, we operate across the GCC countries and the wider Middle East.
And what are Najibi’s plans for the future – will the group extend its business footprint into new regions or sectors?
At Najibi, we don’t believe in being overly aggressive but instead believe in being astute when it comes to expansion decisions. We prefer to wait for the right opportunity, for the right time, and we believe in due diligence and in being thorough. We also like to be on the leading edge of exciting ventures, in the wider Middle East and even North Africa, and our newest venture on Australia’s Sunshine Coast even further afield is representative of that. We are also investing in upgrading our existing assets, to keep them ahead of the curve and maintain our competitive edge.
Which of the sectors within which Najibi operates are performing particularly well? Which would you say have the most positive outlook for the next year?
Najibi predominantly focuses on trading, because that is a high performing sector. Trade between countries within the GCC, the Middle East and beyond is growing at a pretty healthy pace. The way we see it, through the next year, and further down the line, trading is the sector with the most positive outlook. We are also seeing heavy expansion in industry and manufacturing projects in Abu Dhabi, KSA and Algeria.
Which division of the group is currently ripe for long-term investments? What is Najibi’s approach when it comes to potential investors?
Most of Najibi’s business is in-house – we run it and like to manage and maintain it within our experienced teams. But we’re definitely open to potential investors, especially when it comes to a project of the magnitude and significance that we’re developing in Australia. We are very open to collaborating with like-minded individuals and companies that are aligned to our vision, and have skillsets that are in line with the project in question and our interests.
What do you consider the biggest business challenge facing Najibi right now?
Entering new markets is always a challenge – an exciting one. But this is where due diligence comes in handy. We don’t expand into new sectors or new regions without doing our local homework, which helps us tackle any problems we might come across along the way.
Subscribe to our monthly newsletter
Keep a pulse on the latest business news in the Middle East. Subscribe now.