PEZA says LuLu eyes warehouse in Pampanga

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MIDDLE EASTERN retail giant LuLu Group is looking to establish a logistics warehouse inside the Pampanga economic zone, according to a top Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) official.

PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza said LuLu Hypermarket, a unit of Abu Dhabi-based LuLu Group, has expressed its intention to  acquire a 1,000-hectare lot for the warehouse.

“They (LuLu representatives) came [last Friday] because they will already start buying food supply in the Philippines, putting up warehouses and start looking at possible agricultural areas where they can raise their vegetables and crops,” Ms. Plaza told reporters on Monday.

Aside from establishing a warehouse, Ms. Plaza said LuLu also plans to put up a food processing facility that will distribute products to its chain of 134 hypermarkets across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

In 2016, LuLu Group recorded an annual turnover of $6.9 billion, and is said to be the top retailer in Middle East and North Africa.

LuLu Group has been establishing its own sourcing and food processing units around the world, in an effort to ensure continuous supply and competitive pricing. It has sourcing centers in the United Kingdom, United States, Turkey, Vietnam, China, among others.

Ms. Plaza noted foreign investors are keen to enter the Philippines due to its “strategic location, a young labor force that speaks and understand English, and for having only two types of weather.”

At the same time, the PEZA chief said Qatari government is eyeing a trade deal for agriculture, food and other industries. 

“We have a lot of intent for [a] huge food industry. I was sad that what they are ordering from the Philippines is labor… Allegedly, they are hiring farmers and cattle raisers from the Philippines. I said no, even if out people are in demand for labor, we have millions of hectares [for you to use],’” Ms. Plaza said. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato