Doha, Qatar – March, 2018: Al Meera Consumer Goods Company (Q.S.C) held its Annual Ordinary General Assembly on Tuesday, 27th March 2018 at La Cigale Hotel, in the presence of Sheikh Thani Bin Thamer Bin Mohamed Al Thani, Chairman of the Board of Directors, as well as members of the Board of Directors, shareholders and investors.
All items on the agenda were discussed, such as hearing and approving the Board's Report for the year ended 31st December 2017, along with discussing and approving the Company's future business plans. This also came in line with hearing the External Auditor's Report of the year ended 31st December 2017. The company’s financial statements for the year ended 31st of December 2017 were also discussed.
The Assembly approved the Board of Directors’ proposal on the distribution of cash dividends of 8.5 Qatari Riyals per share. Moreover, the Board of Directors were discharged from liabilities and the Assembly approved their remuneration for the year ended 31st December 2017. In addition, the General Assembly approved the External Auditors Report for the year ended 31st December 2017, and the adoption of the Company's seventh Governance Report and appointing the external auditor for the year 2018 and determining their fee.
At the beginning of the Meeting, H.E. Sheikh Thani Bin Thamer Al Thani, Chairman of the Board of Directors, welcomed the presence and thanked His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar and the Father Emir His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al Thani, on the wise leadership and support as well as H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister, for his direction to all ministries and concerned parties to overcome the difficulties that the company may face.
Then, Dr. Saif Said Al Sowaidi, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, delivered board of Directors speech, stating:
“In 2017, Al Meera made strides to continue the Company’s expansion plan, in line with its mission to keep pace with Qatar’s urban planning and development, which covers new areas and others that have recently witnessed a population boom. This translated in the launch of 4 new shopping centres during the year, bringing the number of branches that have opened their doors to consumers since the Company announced its 14-branch expansion plan, to 47. The 4 community shopping centres – located in Um Salal Ali, Al Wakra East, Leaibab 2, and Umm Garn – add a total of 6,095 m2 supermarket area to the company’s presence in Qatar. During the year, the Company also opened three convenience stores; two in education institutions – Doha Institute and HBKU (Qatar Foundation) – to offer students easy access to their daily needs, and a third in Al Udeid Army Camp to serve the country’s military personnel. By the end of 2017, Al Meera recorded a network of 52 branches with 47 in Qatar (endowed with a total retail space of nearly 71,552 m2, including its hypermarket at Hyatt Plaza) and 5 in the Sultanate of Oman.”
He added: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to express my sincere appreciation and deep gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir, for his wise vision, leadership, support and guidance aimed at raising the level of the local economy and financial institutions, which supports the development of Qatar. I would also extend my gratitude to His Highness the Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who built the solid foundation upon which the nation is being constructed and developed, and to His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, for his continuous support and guidance, as well as to our shareholders for their great commitment and support.”
Dr. Saif Said Al Sowaidi, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, also relayed a brief of the company’s 12thBoard of Directors Report which includes the Company’s operations statement and its financial position for the year ended 31st December 2017, where he stated:
“Indeed, 2017 was a year that bore significant challenges to the local and regional market environment, at the forefront of which was the June GCC crisis and the economic blockade of Qatar. With the closure of the land borders and the ensuing confusion amongst the population, Al Meera calmly addressed each challenge presented, and brought assurance to the people of Qatar, with the support of the country’s leadership. Al Meera emerged as a stronger national brand, with an even more loyal customer base.In this context, our international expertise enabled us to leverage our relationships to ensure that we could maximize international supply chains, bringing a plethora of new products from dozens of supporting countries, including Turkey, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Lebanon, Kuwait and Oman, to name just a few.
He added: “Thanks to our loyal customers, and the support of key stakeholders including the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, Ministry of Finance, and Hassad Qatar, Al Meera played a pivotal role throughout the year in steering the national economy towards supporting local entrepreneurs and SMEs, achieving more economic diversification, and self-sustainability.”
One of the highlights of the year was the expansion of Al Meera’s international supply chain, in response to the changing market dynamics and regional logistical challenges. This has led to opening previously untapped markets in the region and beyond.
In the course of diversifying the country’s national economy and achieving self-sustainability, the company strengthened its collaboration with local farmers and continued to work closely with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in order to allow start-ups to grow with Al Meera, while enriching consumers’ choices and balancing the big players’ control of the market.
In this framework, Al Meera participated in Qatar Development Bank’s 2nd Government Procurement & Contracting Conference and Exhibition “Moushtarayat 2017”, held under the patronage of the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Thani. As part of its participation, the company provided local SMEs and startups with an ideal platform, through which they can grow their business and usher in a new wave of opportunities for public-private sector cooperation, towards the diversification of the national economy.
Furthermore, Al Meera announced the launch of a special initiative, in collaboration with Bedaya Center and the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, to offer local producers and startups in the food industry with prominent shelf space in its store at Gulf Mall, thereby providing entrepreneurs in the country with a premium platform to introduce their products to the market and sell them to consumers.
The company’s outstanding achievements, continuous growth and sustained profitability over its decade-long history, culminated in Forbes Middle East honoring Al Meera for its pivotal role in shaping Qatar’s economy and leading the country towards another successful era.
Plans for 2018
Al Meera will focus on completing its projects that are scheduled to come on-line in the first quarter of 2018, and will continue coordinating with the Ministry of Municipality and Environment to ensure that as the State of Qatar continues in its quest for urban growth and expansion, Al Meera will be the partner of choice to serve those areas.
In this context, the Company is currently working on the establishment of nine more stores, which are set to bring Al Meera’s distinctive shopping experience and world-class services to consumers in Al Khor, Rawdat Aba El Heran, Al Sailiya, Leaibab 1, Azghawa, Rawdat Al Hamama, Msheireb Downtown Doha, Jeryan Junaihat and Ain Khaled.
The ambitious expansion plan has been set in motion as an answer to Al Meera’s strategic research and its mission to continue serving the diverse communities in Qatar wherever they are, while effectively contributing to the urban development of the country.
Among the company’s upcoming shopping centres, Al Meera Msheireb Downtown Doha store will be a unique, one of its kind facility in the State of Qatar. Fifty percent of the store area will house an organic store. Within the organic store, dedicated areas will accommodate an organic café and restaurant along with a special section for organic fruits and vegetables. This new project will spearhead the move of Al Meera into providing organic products to its customers in communities where there is a demand for such speciality.
Al Meera is in the final stages of confirming two exciting projects that aim to bring about greater efficiencies and a boost in sales. The first project revolves around the strategic review of the business, with the aim of better understanding the constantly changing marketplace. Post-blockade, the perceived shift in demographic, the fluctuating urbanisation levels, and the evolving needs of the consumer, all require a detailed strategy review in order to understand the marketplace better, and to drive efficiencies in fulfilling consumers’ demands in Qatar. For the second project, Al Meera is in the final stages of selecting a partner for delivering a new loyalty programme that revolves around multiple channels. One of the core elements of the new scheme is the loyalty and marketing platform, which will allow us to understand the customer on a deeper level and subsequently deliver marketing that better represents their needs; direct, customer-focused, needs-orientated marketing that utilises modern communication channels will create a positive impact on sales.
Furthermore, the Company will continue to bring progress to its vision for the Omani market, with the aim of doubling its network of branches in the Sultanate within the next five years. Al Meera Oman is currently considering the possibility of setting up major partnerships with a number of organizations to establish its presence in the four sites that Al Meera will develop, to provide goods and services that cater to the needs of the residents of those areas. The company is also seeking to tender the construction of its commercial centre in Al Amirat during the first quarter of 2018, as well as for its Salalah branch, following which it will focus on the development of its properties in Sur and Suwaiq, respectively.