Yusuff Ali M.A. an Indian billionaire, businessman and Padma Shri award winner from Nattika, Thrissur district, Kerala. He is the Chairman and Managing Director of LuLu Group International that owns the Lulu Hypermarket chain worldwide and LuLu International Shopping Mall. With an annual turnover of US $7.4 billion globally, LuLu Group International employs the largest number of Indians outside India. East retail king M.A. Yusuff Ali presides LuLu Group, with 132 stores in the Gulf region. Hailing from a village in Kerala state in south India, Yusuff Ali left for Abu Dhabi in 1973 to join his uncle’s small distribution business. Yusuff Ali opened his first LuLu hypermarket in the 1990s at the height of the Gulf War.
Now Yusuff Ali is investing back home in a big way, earmarking $1.3 billion to build hotels, malls and convention centers, among much else. The group’s hospitality arm’s assets include the iconic Scottish hotel the Caledonian, a former Victorian railway hotel, overlooking Edinburgh Castle. The business tycoon cames 388 th position in Billionaires 2018 list. And 27India’s Richest.His Lulu Group has a strong presence in the Middle East’s retail sector and is planning expansion in new markets.
According to Forbes Middle East, Yusuff Ali was ranked No. 1 in Top 100 Indian Business Owners In The Arab World 2018. In 2013, Yusuff Ali acquired 4.99% equity in the 93-year-old Thrissur based Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB) and increased his stake in the Aluva-based Federal Bank to 4.47 per cent to 2013, Yusuff Ali hold 9.37 per cent share in Cochin International Airport. Yusuff Ali chairman of Lulu Group International has bought a 10 per cent stake in the UK-based trading firm, East India Company, and a 40 per cent stake in its fine foods subsidiary for around $85 million in total. Lulu’s. His son-in-law Shamsheer Vayalil, also a billionaire, runs his separate healthcare business.
Yusuff Ali was born in Thrissur district on November 15, 1955. He completed his schooling from Nattika and moved to Gujarat where he did his diploma in Business Management & Administration. After the studies he left India in 1973 to Abu Dhabi where his paternal uncle, MK Abdullah, the Chairman and the founder of the LuLu Group of companies was doing business. He developed the import and wholesale distribution of the group and ventured in to the supermarket business by launching Lulu Hypermarket. He started his first Lulu Hypermarket in the 1990s, a time when the UAE’s retail sector witnessed a major change, with the traditional groceries and supermarkets yielding place to large neighborhood stores and hypermarkets. While the entry of Continent (now Carrefour) in 1995 changed the face of retail business in Dubai, Yusuff Ali took charge of Abu Dhabi’s retail sector by rolling out LuLu Hypermarket in Abu
LuLu Group International
LuLu Group International commenced its operations as a family business venture. After joining the business, Yusuff Ali diversified the business to include import and distribution of frozen products from Europe and the US. The products were available not only in Abu Dhabi but also in the interiors of the Emirates too. The business was soon expanded to include both food & non-food categories. The group also started cold storages, meat and food processing plants, large-scale import and distribution to hotel groups, catering companies, and shipping services. By the 1980s, the group had a sizable share of the wholesale and retail food market in the UAE.
The Group headquartered in Abu Dhabi has grown into an international group with operations spread over three continents. Group’s flagship retail chain of LuLu Hypermarkets and Supermarkets is currently rated as one of the major players in the Middle East retail sector with more than 100 stores in Arab states of the Persian Gulf. Apart from the hypermarkets, supermarkets and department stores, the group also owns several shopping malls, namely, Khalidiyah Mall, Al Raha Mall, Al Wahda Mall, Mushriff Mall, Madinat Zayed Mall, Mazyad Mall, Ramli Mall, RAK Mall, Al Foah Mall, Al Khor Mall, Riyadh Avenue Mall in Saudi Arabia and Oman Avenues Mall spread across the GCC states. LuLu International Shopping Mall in Kochi, Kerala was opened on 10 March 2013. It is the group’s first retail venture in India and currently the largest shopping mall in India. A bigger mall is currently under construction in Trivandrum, Kerala and once opened will be India’s largest shopping mall. The Group has a vast organizational structure of over 40,000 employees, representing 37 different nationalities, out of which more than 25,000 are Indians. Retail business is the mainstay of the Group with operations in major Middle East and African countries like UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and Kenya having Retail Sourcing and manufacturing bases located in Far East, India, Africa and Guangzhou in China. Indian operations mainly include Food Processing, Export of Food & Non food products and convention center with bases in Trivandrum, Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Chennai, Cochin and Trichur. Deloitte has ranked the Group as one of the fastest growing retailers in the world.
Recognition and awards
“Commander” title & St. Ephraim Medal by the Patriarch His Holiness Ignatius Zakka I Iwas of Universal Syriac Orthodox Church in 2004.”Most Influential Asian Business Leader in the MENA region” award by Forbes ME in 2012.Was honoured with the archbishop Mar Gregorios award instituted by the alumni association of Mar Ivanios College, Amicos, for his contribution to the industrial sector.”Arab Business Leader of the Year 2012″ during the third edition of the Global Arab Business Meeting held in Ras Al Khaimah. Listed in the Indian Rich List 2011 by Arabian Business magazine. Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural Indian CEO Awards held in February 2012. Conferred with the title of Padma Shri by Smt. Pratibha Patil, the Honourable President of India in 2008 “Business Man of the Year 2009-10” award instituted by the Kerala State Forum of Bankers’ Clubs. Forbes MENA region most influential Asian Business Leader Award 2012. Swiss Ambassador’s Award 2012 for outstanding efforts in promoting Swiss-UAE relations. Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in 2005; the highest Indian government award given to non-resident Indians. 27th Most Richest Indian (Forbes).