GE Money, the global consumer-lending unit of General Electric Company and Al-Futtaim Group, the leading UAE business conglomerate, today signed an agreement to establish a strategic joint venture in the UAE.
Under the agreement a separate company will be formed specializing in providing a range of consumer finance products to consumers in the UAE. Details of the joint venture were announced in Dubai Festival by GE Money’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt and Omar Al-Futtaim, CEO of the Al-Futtaim Group.
The JV will be jointly controlled by GE Money and the Al-Futtaim with the parties holding a 40% and 60% stake respectively. The company’s board will comprise of senior executives from both parties. For both parties the joint venture is of strategic importance facilitating the entry of GE Money into a new market and the wider Middle East region and the expansion of the range of services and activities of the Al-Futtaim in the UAE.
The joint venture will capitalize on the Al-Futtaim’s strong presence in the market and GE Money’s expertise in developing and providing innovative consumer finance products internationally. The Al-Futtaim currently employs 20,000 people across more than 40 operating companies. It operates leading brands in the retail sector including IKEA, Marks & Spencer and ToysRus and is the largest automotive distributor in the UAE with a portfolio of brands including Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Volvo. The company also has operations in the rest of the GCC, Egypt and Pakistan. Its presence in the market offers an excellent distribution channel to the new JV.
Initially it is planned that the JV company will offer customers a range of consumer finance products which will include auto and personal loans, leases, sales finance, bank cards and insurance. It is expected that the new company will commence operations in Q2 of 2007 subject to all regulatory approvals. Commenting Omar Al-Futtaim, CEO of the Al Futtaim said; „A significant part of our expansion and diversification strategy is to broaden the range of products and services that we can provide our customers. Through this joint venture we will be in a position to provide innovative finance products in the market. We are particularly pleased to have been able to attract a partner with the consumer finance expertise and the calibre of GE Money."
According to Jeff Immelt GE’s CEO, the joint venture provides GE Money with an excellent platform to enter the UAE. „We are not new to this region. GE has had an established presence in the region, through our industrial businesses, dating back to the 1930’s. However, the expansion of our consumer finance franchise to the Middle East is an important development for this business. As a global company we continue to expand our horizons both in terms of the offering to our customers, the value to our shareholders and growing our footprint geographically.”
GE Money’s EMEA CEO William H Cary added: „This JV executes on a key objective of GE Money’s EMEA business which is to expand our reach across new markets particularly into rapidly developing markets like the UAE. By partnering with best of breed partners like the Al Futtaim Group we have the opportunity to expand our capability and serve a growing number of customers. Our entry into the UAE and the wider region is a significant milestone for GE Money.”