8 January 2015, Business Mirror
AAHG ties up with BCDA for million-dollar project in Clark Green City
DIVERSIFIED conglomerate Al Ahli Holding Group (AAHG) has forged a partnership with the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) for a multimillion-dollar commercial project, which may possibly be in Clark Green City.
AAHG, a United Arab Emirates-based company with a diversified business portfolio that includes interest in construction, industry, manufacturing, lifestyle and entertainment and real estate, signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday with state disposition firm Bcda in preparation for the infusion of investment in a property held by the BCDA.
“The strategic alliance would refer to certain assets of the BCDA and our future plans that coincide with Al Ahli Holding Group. It pertains to the big businesses that they [the AAHG] have, so some of them would be in Clark. It would be a major development once we’ve concluded the memorandum of agreement,” said Arnel Casiano D. Casanova, BCDA president and CEO, in a briefing with members of the media at the Manila Peninsula Hotel. Casanova said AAHG is interested in several BCDA properties, both in Metro Manila and in Clark.
Both the BCDA and AAHG are mum on the amount to be invested for the project, but Mohammed Khammas, CEO of AAHG, said it would run into “hundreds of millions of dollars” as the project is envisioned to be a significant contributor to the domestic economy.
“This is going to be an economic driver, so that will mean a significant investment that requires a long-term vision,” Khammas said, adding that employment estimate of the project upon completion would be in the thousands.
The multimillion-dollar project will see the entry of a cluster of businesses from the conglomerate that will draw on the entertainment, tourism and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) industry.
Khammas said they hope to move quickly and sign a memorandum of agreement in four months, after which development may begin.
Meanwhile, the international conglomerate also secured the exclusive franchising rights of several Filipino and foreign food and beverage brands to distribute to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) bloc—composed of six Arab states, namely, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE.
“This is going to be a unique food destination called Little Manila. We wanted to combine the best of brands in the Philippines under one roof. We hope to offer these six brands to the Philippine expatriates across the GCC and, in the long run, hope to offer these outside of the expat community,” Khammas added.
These brands will be offered under the Little Manila restaurants and will be initially opened across the GCC region primarily targeting around 2.5 million Filipino expatriate community, followed by multiple stores in different international markets
The Little Manila themed restaurant format will incorporate an array of delicacies from Binalot, Jay-J’s, Fruitas Group, Mochi Crème, Zagu and Fiftea—under appetizers, main-course meals, desserts and beverages.
The Little Manila themed retail concept is expected to open its first outlet in Dubai by the end of first quarter of 2015. AAHG is geared up to aggressively promote the Little Manila themed outlets across different international markets and plans to roll out over 20 outlets in five years.
AAHG also previously announced the launch of Asia Pop Comic Con—an international comic and pop culture convention that is scheduled to take place in Manila during the year 2015.
The event will be the first in a series of big-ticket events planned by AAHG, as part of its long-term strategic investment project in the Philippines.