Majid Al Futtaim Group ties up with Japan’s top finance houses to launch premium credit cards
Majid Al Futtaim Group, the region’s most prominent property developers has signed a joint venture agreement with two of Japan’s leading financial institutions to launch a range of premium credit cards in the UAE. Ahmed Bin Brek, CEO of MAF Ventures LLC, met representatives of JCB, Japan’s leading credit card company, and ORIX Corporation (ORIX), an integrated financial service provider, in Japan on 26th January to seal the agreement.
The parties to the agreement will have equal stakes in joint venture company MAF JCB Card PJSC, the new company which will launch the Group’s credit card business in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. MAF JCB Card PJSC will have its headquarters in Dubai, UAE.
The company plans to begin issuing its credit cards in July 2007, and will target customers using the Majid Al Futtaim Group’s malls and other facilities. Mr. Bin Brek said: “This initiative marks a new direction for Majid Al Futtaim Group and extends its customer offering. We are proud to have as our partners two of Japan’s finest financial institutions and their involvement signals our determination to offer a premium service to users of the Group’s malls and other customers throughout the MENA region.”
He added, “In terms of our strategy this joint venture is a stand-alone project with obvious synergies with the Group’s core activities. It will drive revenue for the company while increasing our customers’ buying power.”
The blueprint for the joint venture forecasts that 150,000 cards will be issued in the first five years of operation. MAF JCB Card PJSC will also develop partnerships with financial institutions for JCB card issuing and merchant acquiring businesses.
JCB, a renowned global payment brand and the leading credit card issuer and acquirer in Japan, has been actively pursuing growth in the MENA region since 1987. It issued its first card in the region in Bahrain n 2005 and has since consolidated its network with a particular focus on the UAE where it signed agreements with major partners such as Mashreq Bank in 1996, National Bank of Dubai in 1997, and Network International in December 2006.
Mr. Hiroya Nobuhara, President and CEO of JCB, said: “This is a big step forward for JCB as we pursue our policy of expanding our operations in the MENA region. This venture offers a tremendous opportunity to make progress in one of our main target markets.”
Mr. Yasuhiko Fujiki, President and COO of ORIX, added: “ORIX and JCB have had a comprehensive business tie-up since 2005. This is a significant milestone for us as this new company is our first joint venture outside Japan under this partnership.”
Mr. Fujiki emphasized that the MENA region has long been a principal target market for ORIX and JCB. Since setting up its leasing business in Pakistan in 1986, ORIX has opened six offices - including joint ventures - in five countries in the MENA region. Mr. Fujiki said: “We anticipate the joint business with JCB in the UAE will generate good synergies for both of our businesses in the MENA.”
As part of ORIX’s strategy in the MENA, ORIX joined Majid Al Futtaim Group, the region’s most prominent property developer, to create MAF ORIX Financial PJSC in the UAE in 2002. Since then, ORIX and Majid Al Futtaim Group have teamed up on joint ventures in four countries.