INTRICACIES OF TRADE
TBY talks to Rajeev Bhatia, Managing Director of The House of S.T. Bhatia, on the importance of a diversified business model and how it has achieved such monumental growth.
BIOGRAPHYA graduate in marketing and corporate communications from Richmond, UK, Rajeev Bhatia pursued a comprehensive leadership program from Harvard Business School, US. A leader since college, he has introduced a strong sense of leadership and work ethic into The House of S.T. Bhatia. His exposure to western markets, invaluable insights into the intricacies of the trade, and thoroughbred management training was precisely what the group's duty free and club services required. As Managing Director of the group, his main focus is on the active development and sustenance of the existing and potential clientele, with the introduction of relevant and viable agencies worldwide.
Bhatia began operating in 1969 in the UAE. With almost 50 years of operation, what do you consider to be its main achievements?
The company's achievements are parallel to the country's achievements. We had the privilege of being able to establish ourselves before the union, and we have seen the advantages of the country coming together and the vision of every different Emirate becoming one country's vision. We forayed into logistics in terms of distribution networks and warehousing structures to support international brands and companies entering the UAE and at the same time being a hub for using neighboring or developing regions, such as Africa. A lot people say that the UAE is becoming the center of the world, but I believe it already is the center of the world. Whether it is from land, sea, or air, I do not know of any other country that has more than one different national airline, for example. In terms of sea ports there are new developments, such as Abu Dhabi's Khalifa Port, which is one of the largest ports in the region. And now with the new cruise terminal, connectivity is going to be enhanced throughout the Emirates. We are providing services to the port and for the cruise terminals in terms of logistics, distribution, retail, and the F&B industry.
The company has a diversified portfolio including wholesale, retail, and logistics, as well as hospitality. Which sector do you consider to be at the core of your business?
Retail, logistics, and distribution are at the core of our business. The F&B side and hospitality are the complimentary sides of our business. We have been venturing into real estate management more recently and are slowly expanding.
Are you planning to expand, both in the UAE and internationally?
We expanded to Abu Dhabi last year and are considering expanding into the Far East and Africa. We tend to partner with strong local players that have established themselves in the countries where we go for a long period of time. We pick those partners based on their local knowledge, because we have the business acumen and the business know-how, and we just need the local domestic, political, or just general day-to-day operational know-how. We try to create plug-and-play operations.
Are you also planning to start online shopping?
Yes, e-commerce is the next step we want to take. It would complement our current retail structure. We would like to target a niche market, or a slightly different e-commerce element to what everyone else is doing here.
Sharjah is expected to experience rapid growth in the next five years. What is your forecast for Bhatia in the next couple of years?
We like to refer to ourselves as a conservative business house, and that is why most of the financial and government segments see us as a worthy investment. We are a company that understands our limitations and our strengths. We take calculated risks; we only do what we are good at and we do not try to do what everyone else does simply because they are making a lot of money. Obviously considering the decline in industry at the present moment, we are conservative about how much exposure we want to take, but that being said our international growth is going to substitute for what we might be losing in the UAE at present. I think we will almost be on par with the double-digit growth we have seen in the past five or six years.
What are Bhatia's goals and priorities for 2016?
Our goal is to expand into these new markets using the UAE as our hub. We are negotiating to bring in new products and categories to the UAE market for both duty free and domestic distribution. At the same time, we are taking a lot of interest in expanding our expertise outside, such as the Far East and Africa.
INTRICACIES OF TRADE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Federal Supreme Council and Ruler, Sharjah
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Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman, Department of Government Relations
TBY talks to Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of the Department of Government Relations, on his department's role in coordinating the delivery of information to key stakeholders and the important part it plays in cultivating sustainable development.read article
HE Sultan Abdullah Bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman , Sharjah Economic Development Department
TBY talks to HE Sultan Abdullah Bin Hadda Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Sharjah Economic Development Department, on the resilience of Sharjah's economy and building on its well-diversified foundations.read article
HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman, Sharjah Media Corporation
TBY talks to HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Corporation & Chairman of Sharjah Media Centre, on competitiveness in the sector, its influence on the other Emirates, and expectations for the future.read article
HE Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General , Sharjah's Finance Departmen
TBY talks to HE Waleed Al Sayegh, Director General of Sharjah's Finance Department & CEO of Sharjah Asset Management, on fiscal policy direction and initiatives being introduced to increase efficiency and transparency from the top down.read article
Dr. Rashid Al Leem, Chairman , Sharjah Energy and Water Authority (SEWA)
TBY talks to Dr. Rashid Al Leem, Chairman of Sharjah Energy and Water Authority (SEWA), on the challenges facing the Emirate's plan to reach 30% water re-use by 2020, and changing the attitudes through education.read article
Mohammed N. Al Hazzaa, Director General , Emirates Company for Industrial Cities (ECIC),
TBY talks to Mohammed N. Al Hazzaa, Director General of Emirates Company for Industrial Cities (ECIC), on the company's performance, government support of the private sector, and forecasting occupancy trends.read article
Focus: Reducing water and power consumption
Under Dr. Rashid Al Leem's stewardship, Sharjah is aiming to become the first City of Conservation. This principally encompasses supplying electricity and water through sustainable avenues with technological efficiency while raising awareness of sustainability practices.read article
Ted Young, Project Head, Al Zahia Communities Business Unit at Majid Al Futtaim Properties
TBY talks to Ted Young, Project Head of the Al Zahia Communities Business Unit at Majid Al Futtaim Properties, on the reasons behind the market's resilience and the future of housing demands in the Emirate.read article
Focus: Mixed-use Developments
Cities within Cities
Sharjah's real estate sector is undergoing important transformations, with the government and developers focusing on megaprojects to attract investors. For this purpose, mixed-use developments are increasingly preferred to purely residential or commercial developments.read article
Focus: Fighting Cardiac Disease
The UAE Ministry of Health has stated that over half of all deaths in the UAE are the result of four oft-occurring issues: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, road traffic accidents, and congenital abnormalities. A survey from the Emirates Cardiac Society showed that almost 9 in 10 Emiratis are at risk of heart disease, with one in three unaware of that fact.read article
HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman , Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA)
TBY talks to HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), on the growing tourism sector in the Emirate, its strategies to boost cruise tourism, and the incredible progress in Sharjah.read article
Manal Ataya, Director General , Sharjah Museums Department (SMD)
TBY talks to Manal Ataya, Director General of the Sharjah Museums Department (SMD), on cooperating on international exhibits, its educational festivals, and the challenge to ensure that museums are accessible to all.read article
Hanan Al Mahmoud, Director, Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre (JRCC)
TBY talks to Hanan Al Mahmoud, Director of Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre (JRCC), on the appeal of Sharjah as a MICE destination, plans for expansion, and the projected benefits of Expo 2020.read article