Jafza acquires UK warehouse developer

Economic Zones World (EZW), a subsidiary of Dubai World, has completed its first foreign acquisition by the purchase of Gazeley, a UK-based warehouse developer.
OVERSEAS DEAL: Salma Hareb, CEO of EZW, Jamal Majid bin Thaniah, Group CEO and Pat McGillycuddy, CEO Gazeley
OVERSEAS DEAL: Salma Hareb, CEO of EZW, Jamal Majid bin Thaniah, Group CEO and Pat McGillycuddy, CEO Gazeley

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Economic Zones World (EZW), a subsidiary of Dubai World, has completed its first foreign acquisition by the purchase of Gazeley, a UK-based warehouse developer.

The company, which until now had been owned by Wal-Mart, was sold to Jafza for a reported US$600 million, although no official confirmation of the figure has yet been made.

"Gazeley's established international platform, proven development capabilities, long-standing customer relationships and strong management team will bring strategic benefits to Economic Zones World," said Jamal Majid Bin Thaniah, group CEO of Port and Free Zone World, of which EZW is a subsidiary.

"The acquisition gives us a springboard into new markets and, as we continue to grow the business, we anticipate that the deal will strengthen the speed and success of our expansion plans."

Gazeley is one of the biggest UK developers with a portfolio of 5.6 million square metres of sustainable distribution warehouses. It has almost a dozen current operations in Europe and has also managed previous projects in India, Mexico and China.

It bills itself as a global provider of eco-friendly logistics space and experienced rapid growth after Asda was acquired by Wal-Mart in 1999.

As of last year, only 5% of its business came from retail contracts.

Pat McGillycuddy, CEO of Gazeley, told reporters last month that Wal-Mart put the company up for bidding because, as a non-core subsidiary, it had become too big to be easily manageable.

"We had outperformed growth expectations," he said. "What Wal-Mart wanted was the benefit of the service without the obligation of ownership."

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