Debenhams enters Oman as part of Middle East expansion

Debenhams has opened two new stores in its biggest international region, the Middle East, entering Oman for the first time. (Supplied)
Updated 13 September 2019

Debenhams enters Oman as part of Middle East expansion

  • The launch in Oman means Debenhams is now represented in 8 countries in the region

MUSCAT: Debenhams has opened two new stores in its biggest international region, the Middle East, entering Oman for the first time, and taking the number of stores in this region to 29.
Debenhams opened in The Galleria Al-Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi, on Wednesday 4th September, as part of the center’s much-anticipated expansion. It is Debenhams’ sixth store in the UAE with partner Alshaya, and will trade on two floors across 75,073 square feet.
The launch in Oman means Debenhams is now represented in 8 countries in the region. The store is in the newly-opened Mall Of Muscat, which boasts the largest aquarium in the Middle East. The store opened its doors on Thursday 5th September, trading on 34,374 square feet.
Both stores follow the “Debenhams Redesigned” concept showcased at Debenhams in Watford. Customers will enjoy world-class service with exclusive access to the Designers at Debenhams range, featuring British fashion designers such as Jasper Conran, Julien MacDonald, Preen and Savannah Miller.
Both stores will also range well-known quality Debenhams in-house brands such as Principles, Maine, Racing Green and Bluezoo as well as a wide variety of international fashion and beauty brands, such as Levis, American Eagle and Calvin Klein. In-store services include personal shopping, beauty treatment rooms and casual dining options.
These openings take the Debenhams’ international franchise business up to 57 stores in 20 countries.
Jess Shepherd, Debenhams Director of Digital & International, commented:
“Our customers in Middle Eastern markets now have two more locations to shop with us in malls that represent the best of shopping in the region. Our longstanding partnership with Alshaya continues to present expansion opportunities in a region where our mix of Designer and high street British brands resonates well with local customers.”

Saudi energy giant to invest $3bn in Bangladesh’s power sector

Updated 22 October 2019

Saudi energy giant to invest $3bn in Bangladesh’s power sector

  • Experts say deal will usher in more economic and development opportunities for the country

DHAKA: Saudi Arabia’s energy giant, ACWA power, will set up an LNG-based 3,600 MW plant in Bangladesh after an agreement was signed in Dhaka on Thursday.

The MoU was signed by ACWA Chairman Mohammed Abunayyan and officials from the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), officials told Arab News on Monday.

According to the agreement, ACWA will invest $3 billion in Bangladesh’s energy development sector, of which $2.5 billion will be used to build the power plant while the rest will be spent on an LNG terminal to facilitate fuel supply to the plant. Under the deal, ACWA will also set up a 2 MW solar power plant.

In recent months, both countries have engaged in a series of discussions for investment opportunities in Bangladesh’s industry and energy sectors. 

During the Saudi-Bangladesh investment cooperation meeting in March this year, Dhaka proposed a $35 billion investment plan to a high-powered Saudi delegation led by Majed bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, the Saudi commerce and investment minister, and Mohammed bin Mezyed Al-Tuwaijri, the Saudi economy and planning minister.

However, officials in Dhaka said that this was the first investment deal to be signed between the two countries.

“We have just inked the MoU for building the LNG-based power plant. Now, ACWA will conduct a feasibility study regarding the location of the plant, which is expected to be completed in the next six months,” Khaled Mahmood, chairman of BPDB, told Arab News.

He added that there are several locations in Moheshkhali, Chottogram and the Mongla port area for the proposed power plant.

“We need to find a suitable location where the drift of the river will be suitable for establishing the LNG plant and we need to also consider the suitability of establishing the transmission lines,” Mahmood said.

“It will be either a JV (Joint Venture) or an IPP (Independent Power Producer) mode of investment, which is yet to be determined. But, we are expecting that in next year the investment will start coming here,” Mahmood said.

BPDB expects to complete the set-up process of the power plant within 36 to 42 months.

“We are in close contact with ACWA and focusing on the successful completion of the project within the shortest possible time,” he said.

Abunayyan said that he was optimistic about the new investment deal.

“Bangladesh has been a model for the Muslim world in economic progress. This is our beginning, and our journey and our relationship will last for a long time,” Abunayyan told a gathering after the MoU signing ceremony.

Economists and experts in Bangladesh also welcomed the ACWA investment in the energy development sector.

“This sort of huge and long-term capital investment will create a lot of employment opportunities. On the other hand, it will facilitate other trade negotiations with the Middle Eastern countries, too,” Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, senior research fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), told Arab News.

She added that Bangladesh needs to weigh the pros and cons before finalizing such contracts so that the country can earn the “maximum benefits” from the investment.

“It will also expedite other big investments in Bangladesh from different countries,” she said.

Another energy economist, Dr. Asadujjaman, said that Bangladesh needs to exercise caution while conducting the feasibility study for such a huge investment.

“We need to address the environmental aspects, opportunity costs and other economic perspectives while working with this type of big investment. Considering the present situation, the country also needs to focus on producing more solar energy,” Dr. Asadujjaman told Arab News.