Malabar Gold & Diamonds, one of the biggest jewellers in India, is preparing to invest US$700 million (Dh2.57 billion) in a global expansion plan to become the world's largest jeweller.
The company, based in Dubai, aims to more than triple the number of stores it operates and expand sales from $2.4bn last year to more than $6bn in 2015 and surpass Chow Tai Fook (CTF) Jewellery, from Hong Kong, as the biggest jeweller by revenue.
Malabar's goal is to open more than 150 outlets in India, the Gulf, the Far East, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, creating 15,000 jobs and investing $100m in marketing and brand initiatives.
"Malabar Gold & Diamonds, in its endeavour to become the world's leading retailer in value-appreciating gifts, is undergoing a brand transformation to blend with its future business vision," said MP Ahamed, the chairman of Malabar Group.
"The objective of the overall rebranding and expansion programme is to raise the international profile of [the company] in line with being the world's biggest and most valuable jewellery brand within the next few years."
Malabar is the latest jewellery company based in the Middle East to seek funding to ambitiously expand overseas.
Pure Gold Jewellers is looking to invest Dh1bn in new stores and factories during the next five years, and the company has entered into talks with a number of Islamic banks to help finance the expansion.
Last month, Joyalukkas said it was confident it would raise $100m in a syndicated loan from a consortium of banks to expand its network of stores.
But neither of these businesses has quite the global ambitions of Malabar, which claims to be the third-biggest retailer in the world by revenue, behind CTF and the US firm Tiffany & Co.
"If somebody is buying Tiffany, they are buying for the brand name Tiffany, but I'm sure there's a whole host of people that will want a better product and better service for value for [the] money," said Tiny Philip, the chief executive of Results Consulting Group, Malabar's advisers on the expansion plan.
Tiffany, which has more than 200 stores worldwide, yesterday reported 18 per cent growth in global sales last year to $3.6bn.
CTF launched an initial public offering in December, valuing the jeweller at $19bn.
Malabar plans to invest $100m this year in 20 new stores in India and the GCC, bringing its total number of outlets to 84.
It was founded in Kerala in 1993 and has the majority of its stores in southern India. The company's headquarters were moved to Dubai in 2007 to aid in its growth. Malabar is privately owned by a cooperative of 1,600 investors, mainly Indians back home and in the Gulf.
The jeweller aims to tap this base for further financing and will not go to banks for loans.
"We are not going to change our [funding] model for our expansion," said Mr Philip. "We will have more investors come in [in addition to] the existing investors."