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CAIRO, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Dubai-based retail developer Majid Al Futtaim will invest 16 billion Egyptian pounds ($996.26 million) in Egypt over the next two to three years, 14 billion pounds of which will be for a single mall in Cairo, its CEO said on Wednesday.
Majid Al Futtaim also plans to expand in Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan and Uganda, chief executive Alain Bejjani told Reuters in an interview.
The company will spend 2 billion Saudi riyals ($533.6 million) building cinemas in Saudi Arabia as part of a five-year 16 billion riyal investment plan, he said.
Majid Al Futtaim, which has already built 100 cinema screens in Saudi Arabia, will bring the total to 600 screens at the end of the five-year plan, which began a year and a half ago. The conservative kingdom lifted a nearly 40-year ban on commercial cinemas in 2017 as part of broad social and economic reforms.
"We will open seven Carrefour locations in Uzbekistan in 2020 and on Dec. 16 we will open a Carrefour in Uganda," Bejjani said, adding they will also enter other markets.
Majid Al Futtaim has the franchise rights for French retailer Carrefour SA in 37 markets in the Middle East, Africa and central Asia and operates more than 280 stores. The Carrefour in Uganda will be its first investment there.
The company, which builds and operates retail, hospitality and integrated city projects, has invested around 28 billion Egyptian pounds in Egypt since the end of 2015, he said. Bejjani will officially open on Thursday the City Centre Almaza mall in an eastern district of Cairo, with total investments of about 9.35 billion pounds.
In the UAE, where the company says 88% of grocery customers shop at Carrefour, Bejjani said there were positive signs on consumer confidence in the retail market after a difficult two years.
"2020 will be important for the UAE market (especially) with Expo and the improvement that is happening in Saudi Arabia ... (all that) will have a positive impact on the UAE," he said.
($1 = 16.0600 Egyptian pounds) ($1 = 3.7498 Saudi riyals) (Reporting by Ehab Farouk; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Christina Fincher and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)