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Shahid Kazi in Emirates 24/7

EMIRATES 24/7, 16 June 2014

Waheed Abbas
Published 

Dubai firm says advising US fast-food chain for its expansion of over 50 outlets in UAE and Saudi

Dubai-based ValuStrat, which provides strategic advisory, valuation and asset divestment services across the region, expects its advisory business to grow 33 per cent this year as it expands operations and hire more staff.

In an interview with Emirates 24l7, Shahid Kazi, CEO of ValuStrat, said he expects value of projects advised by the company for 2014 is forecast to significantly exceed Dh15-billion figure of 2013 to reach Dh20 billion this year.

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He said the first five months have been very promising and better than last year. “On the advisory side, we are advising 20-30 per cent more in terms of number of projects and valuations compared to last year. Because of positive sentiment this year, there are a lot of new mega projects that clients are contemplating. New mega projects on all fronts whether it is government, multinationals or corporates or banks, all want to expand and that directly relates to consulting business,” Kazi added.
He said approximate value of projects advised on or currently being advised during the first five months of 2014 were estimated at around Dh8 billion.

Kazi said the company is also currently advising a major US fast-food chain retailer for its expansion in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

“Sectors like retail, FMCG, healthcare and education are part of our growing advisory services. For example, we are advising a very large and known US burger chain trying to come to this region starting with Saudi and UAE. They are planning to come up with 50 restaurants in Saudi and many more in UAE and other countries. We are advising on their market entry strategy on how they can come in and which city should be first; how should they position themselves; and what will be the market reaction potential,” he added.

The US fast-food chain has a small presence here but they realise that Saudi is a bigger market for their particular franchise. UAE has been very active in retail and high end sectors. “UAE is a very business friendly place and can be a more natural entry for people to come here. But sometimes it makes more sense to go Saudi first to capture the bigger market,” he added.

ValuStrat recently entered into a joint venture with Hilco Industrial, an industrial asset services company, for forced-liquidation valuations and subsequent disposal services for industrial assets.

Property market stable

Commenting on the property sector forecast, Kazi said as property prices in Dubai had overheated during financial crisis similarly the drop was also too sharp due to over-cautious sentiments by the investors but now the residential market is stabilising.

“The residential market is stabilising. The growth that was observed in the last couple of years shows that it’s stabilising which is a good sign. I foresee that the next year or so we will see more stable growth in short term. Even if there is a correction after 2-3 years it’ll be of smaller nature which would be healthy,” he added.

 

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