Yusuff Ali M.A.

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Yusuff Ali M. A.
Yusuff Ali M. A.
Born Yusuff Ali Musaliam Veettil Abdul Kader
(1955-11-15) 15 November 1955 (age 61)
Nattika, Thrissur district
Nationality  Indian
Occupation Founder & MD of Lulu Hypermarket
Net worth Increase US$5.6 billion (as on 9 August 2016)
Spouse(s) Shabira Yusuff Ali
Awards Padma Shri (2008)
Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (2005)
Commander of the Syriac Orthodox Church (2004)[1]
Website http://www.yusuffali.com/

Yusuff Ali M.A. is an Indian businessman from Nattika in Thrissur district of Kerala. He is the Managing Director of Abu Dhabi-headquartered EMKE LuLu Group of companies that owns the Lulu Hypermarket chain in Middle East.[2] With an annual turnover of US $5.5 billion globally, LuLu Group International employs the largest number of Indians outside India. According to Forbes, Yusuff Ali is currently the 24th wealthiest Indian and the 270th (as on 9 August 2016) richest in the world, with a personal wealth of $4.3 billion.[3][4] In 2013, Ali acquired 4.99% equity in the 93-year-old Thrissur based Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB)[5][6] and increased his stake in the Aluva-based Federal Bank to 4.47 per cent.[7] In 2016, Ali purchased the Scotland Yard Building in London.[8] According to 2013, Yusuff Ali hold 9.37 per cent share in Cochin International Airport.[9]

Early life[edit]

Yusuff Ali was born in Thrissur district on November 15, 1955. He completed his schooling from Nattika and moved to Gujarat where he did his diploma in Business Management & Administration. After the studies he left India in 1973 to Abu Dhabi where his paternal uncle, MK Abdullah, the Chairman and the founder of the EMKE Group of companies was doing business. He developed the import and wholesale distribution of the group and ventured in to the supermarket business by launching Lulu Hypermarket. He started his first Lulu Hypermarket in the 1990s, a time when the UAE's retail sector witnessed a major change, with the traditional groceries and supermarkets yielding place to large neighborhood stores and hypermarkets. While the entry of Continent (now Carrefour) in 1995 changed the face of retail business in Dubai, Yusuff Ali took charge of Abu Dhabi's retail sector by rolling out LuLu Hypermarket in Abu Dhabi.[10][11]

EMKE Group (LuLu Group International)[edit]

The EMKE Group alias LuLu Group International commenced its operations as a family business venture. After joining the business, Yusuff Ali diversified the business to include import and distribution of frozen products from Europe and the US. The products were available not only in Abu Dhabi but also in the interiors of the Emirates too. The business was soon expanded to include both food & non-food categories. The group also started cold storages, meat and food processing plants, large-scale import and distribution to hotel groups, catering companies, and shipping services. By the 1980s, the group had a sizable share of the wholesale and retail food market in the UAE.

The Group headquartered in Abu Dhabi has grown into an international group with operations spread over three continents. EMKE Group’s flagship retail chain of LuLu Hypermarkets and Supermarkets is currently rated as one of the major players in the Middle East retail sector with more than 100 stores in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Arab states. Apart from the hypermarkets, supermarkets and department stores, the group also owns several shopping malls, namely, Khalidiyah Mall, Al Raha Mall, Al Wahda Mall, Mushriff Mall, Madinat Zayed Mall, Mazyad Mall, Ramli Mall, RAK Mall, Al Foah Mall, and Al Khor Mall, spread across the GCC states. LuLu Shopping Mall in Kochi, Kerala was opened on 10 March 2013. It is the group’s first retail venture in India and currently the largest shopping mall in India. Another ambitious project in progress is the Riyadh Avenue Mall in Saudi Arabia. The Group has a vast organizational structure of over 35,600 employees, representing 37 different nationalities, out of which more than 28,900 are Indians. Retail business is the mainstay of the Group with operations in major Middle East and African countries like UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and Kenya having Retail Sourcing and manufacturing bases located in Far East, India, Africa and Guangzhou in China. Indian operations mainly include Food Processing, Export of Food & Non food products and convention center with bases in Delhi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Chennai, Cochin and Trichur. Deloitte has ranked the Group as one the fastest growing retailers in the world.[12][13][14][15][16]


Yusuff Ali is very closely involved in many social, charitable and humanitarian activities both in India as well as in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. He has done various philanthropic activities across the globe. As part of its Global CSR policy, the LuLu Group joined hands with Dubai Cares and adopted schools in Gaza and Nepal.[17][18] Yusuff Ali contributed and took initiative to open a multi-faith funeral centre for the Indian community in Sharjah that spread across 8.3 acres.[19] He also took initiative to sell and promote organic products grown by the special needs community in UAE through LuLu Hypermarkets[20][21] . Yusuff Ali donated generously towards the Gujarat earthquake, Tsunami Relief Fund in Asia, and Typhoon and flood relief in other parts of the world. He is also actively involved in ensuring the social, economic and religious welfare of expatriate Indians in the Persian Gulf region. He played a major role in finding land for the Christian community in the region to build churches and secure cremation grounds for the Hindu populace in the Persian Gulf. M. A. Yusuff Ali also extended help to Indians during the amnesty period in the Persian Gulf when hundreds of Indians lost their livelihood. He helped rehabilitate people who lost their livelihood in the Calicut market fire as well.[22][23][24]

Recognition and awards[edit]

  • "Commander" title & St. Ephraim Medal by the Patriarch His Holiness Ignatius Zakka I Iwas of Universal Syrian Orthodox Church in 2004.
  • Listed in the Forbes Magazine’s annual tally of billionaires in March 2013 at the 974th position with a net worth of $1.5 billion.[5]
  • "Most Influential Asian Business Leader in the MENA region" award by Forbes ME in 2012.[25]
  • Was honoured with the archbishop Mar Gregorios award instituted by the alumni association of Mar Ivanios College, Amicos, for his contribution to the industrial sector.[26][27]
  • "Arab Business Leader of the Year 2012" during the third edition of the Global Arab Business Meeting held in Ras Al Khaimah.[28]
  • Listed in the Indian Rich List 2011 by Arabian Business magazine.[29]
  • Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural Indian CEO Awards held in February 2012.[30]
  • Conferred with the title of Padma Shri by Smt. Pratibha Patil, the Honourable President of India in 2008[31]
  • "Business Man of the Year 2009-10" award instituted by the Kerala State Forum of Bankers’ Clubs.[32]
  • Forbes MENA region most influential Asian Business Leader Award 2012.[33]
  • Swiss Ambassador’s Award 2012 for outstanding efforts in promoting Swiss-UAE relations.[34]
  • Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in 2005; the highest Indian government award given to non-resident Indians.[35]


  1. ^ "Awards | Businessman of the year | Lifetime Achievement Award – Yusuff Ali". Yusuffali.com. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  2. ^ https://successstory.com/people/ma-yusuff-ali
  3. ^ "Forbes News". Forbes. 2015. 
  4. ^ "Forbes Biionaires". Forbes. 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Yusuf Ali mops up 4.99% stake in Catholic Syrian Bank". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2013-04-19. 
  6. ^ "Billionaires 2013 Notable Newcomers". Forbes. 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  7. ^ "Times of India". Times of India. 17 July 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2014. .
  8. ^ http://www.thenational.ae/business/property/lulu-group-front-runner-to-buy-original-scotland-yard-premises-in-london
  9. ^ http://timesofindia.com/city/kochi/Yusuff-Ali-lifts-stake-in-Cochin-International-Airport/articleshow/19249931.cms
  10. ^ "LuLu named fastest growing retailer by audit firm Deloitte". Saudi Gazette.com. Retrieved 2013-01-30. 
  11. ^ "HRH the Crown Prince leads Bahrain business delegation to India". AMEinfo.com. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  12. ^ |url=http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/emke-group-to-invest-rs-600-cr-in-kerala-111020300212_1.html |title=Emke group to invest Rs 600 cr in Kerala |publisher=Business Standard |accessdate=2011-02-03}}
  13. ^ "Yusuff Ali lifts stake in Cochin International Airport". The Times of India. 2013. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "LuLu Mall together with LuLu Hypermarket opens in Kochi". International Supermarket News. Retrieved 2013-04-02. 
  15. ^ "Spearheading a retail revolution". Gulfnews.com. Retrieved 2012-11-27. 
  16. ^ "Emke will invest Dh4.3b to expand retail chain". Gulfnews.com. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  17. ^ "Lulu Group teams up with Dubai Cares". gulftoday.ae. 2013-02-11. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  18. ^ "Newspapers From Around the World". PressDisplay.com. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  19. ^ "Funeral centre for Indians opens in Sharjah". Khaleej Times. 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  20. ^ "Organic vegetables grown by special needs community in UAE to be sold in Lulu hypermarkets". GulfNews.com. 2013-04-22. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  21. ^ "People with special needs grow organic vegetables in 35-hectare farm". GulfNews.com. 2013-05-01. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  22. ^ "Work begins on Dh1.6b SmartCity Kochi project". Gulfnews.com. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  23. ^ "Yousuf Ali comes out with flying colours". Gulfnews.com. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  24. ^ "Global Arab Business Meeting to be held in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, 9-10 December 2012". AMEinfo.com. Retrieved 2012-10-22. 
  25. ^ "LuLu head ‘most influential Asian business leader’". Gulf Times. Retrieved 2012-11-07. 
  26. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/Mar-Gregorios-award-to-Yousuf-Ali/articleshow/56263090.cms
  27. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/thiruvananthapuram/yousuf-ali-receives-mar-gregorios-award/articleshow/56300712.cms
  28. ^ "Global Arab Business Meeting". Horasis. 
  29. ^ "Revealed: Indian Rich List 2011". ArabianBusiness.com. 
  30. ^ "Yusuff Ali scoops top prize at Indian CEO Awards". ArabianBusiness.com. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  31. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Award for Emke group CEO". Business Standard. Retrieved 2010-11-05. 
  33. ^ "Lulu group Chairman Yusuff Ali MA receives Forbes MENA region most influential Asian Business Leader Award". Business Standard. Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  34. ^ "Swiss Ambassador’s Award recognises notable efforts". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  35. ^ "Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Divas awards announced". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 2005-01-05. Retrieved 2005-01-05.