With its modest origins as a garments factory in Mumbai in 1974, the company’s move to Jafza a decade later helped establish it as one of the most well-respected and long-standing manufacturing, retail, and logistics companies in the UAE
Being the first to introduce the ‘Made in UAE’ label to the world’s largest retailers, Palmon Group has gone from strength to strength. Owing to its expertise in several industries, the company has expanded beyond its core clothing manufacturing business to logistics, warehouses, fashion, facilities management, food and beverages and interior design. The company’s portfolio has witnessed exponential growth over the years, both in terms of value and physical assets.
Meher Mirchandani, Managing Partner and Head of Corporate, Palmon Group, sheds light on the background, history, and expansion plans of the conglomerate.
Can you share anecdotes from your journey and how Jafza became a preferred choice for the business?
My father, Manohar Lahori, Founder and Chairman, Palmon Exports, founded his first company, a garment factory in Mumbai, India, in 1974. Palmon relocated its business to Dubai as a result of a meeting with His Excellency Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem. My father stopped in the UAE while travelling from India to the UK to explore what was being developed as a free zone.
Impressed by the enthusiasm and vision of His Excellency Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, and the facilitation by his team, my father was convinced about starting the first garment manufacturing production facility in Jafza.
We were all in the process of learning something new. With the demand from our customers and the support of Jafza, we were able to expand to three facilities. Needless to say, they were as pleased with our accomplishments and growth as we were.
We were the first to introduce the ‘Made in UAE’ label to the world’s largest retailers. I can still recall His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, visiting our factory and showering praise on us for promoting the UAE as a manufacturing base in Europe and the US. The demand for our product increased rapidly, pushing us to increase production at a faster rate through organic growth and acquisitions. Today, our business employs over 4,000 people to produce garments in over 30 factories in the Gulf.
Palmon Group began as an apparel factory but has now expanded into different sectors. Can tell us more about your expansion strategies?
The Palmon Group grew rapidly since its inception in Jafza in 1985. We expanded beyond our original core business of clothing manufacturing.
We were the exclusive UAE dealer for Ernestomeda, a major Italian brand that manufactures and exports approximately 70,000 kitchens worldwide each year. Additionally, we represented the US-based kitchen appliance brand Sub-Zero and installed approximately 1,800 speciality refrigerators in Burj Khalifa’s apartments. We supplied 150 kitchens for the first phase of Al Barari, a luxury eco-development off Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, as well as 60 kitchens for Lime Tree Valley, which is a part of the Jumeirah Golf Estates.
We have increased our diversification by launching the UAE’s first logistics fund in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which is managed by Dalma and regulated by Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). With assets primarily in Jafza, the fund will meet the needs of the region’s growing e-commerce industry.
How do you view your long-term partnership with Jafza?
We have unwavering faith in the leadership of the UAE and Jafza’s management. Huge infrastructure investments including those that are ongoing, trade facilitation reforms and swift customs clearance are recognised as the chief contributing factors that make the UAE and Jafza preferred regional supply chain and re-distribution gateways for multinational companies.
In recent years, the UAE has transformed from a logistics hub to a supply chain nerve centre due to the successful implementation of national logistics plans and digital transformation initiatives undertaken by the public and private sectors.
Hence, there will always be high demand for world-class logistic centres like Jafza. We, thus, endorse Jafza’s vision. Our investment in the free zone speaks volumes of our belief. We are looking forward to growing our footprint in Jafza in the coming years.
What are some of your key achievements?
We are grateful for our consistent growth. In terms of built-up area, our portfolio has grown from 500,000 ft2 to 1.1 million ft2 in the last five years. Our fund’s value has increased from USD 50 million to USD 80 million, with a goal of reaching USD 150 million by 2025.
- Our fund’s value has increased from USD 50 million to USD 80 million
- Over 4,000 people are employed in our businesses in the region
- Over 30 factories producing garments all over the Gulf region
What are your expansion plans, both locally and regionally?
The Fund’s strategy is to expand locally in the future by acquiring more space in the categories of e-commerce, logistics, distribution, and document/data centres. The long-term plan is to make it a GCC-wide fund by expanding regionally, starting from Saudi Arabia.