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05/01/2018 - 07:00hs

Pools by iGUi to go on sale in the UAE

A franchise outlet from the Brazilian brand will open in Dubai in a few days, with another set to go into business in Abu Dhabi in the first quarter. Talks are ongoing for a Middle East plant.

São Paulo – The first fiberglass pools by Brazil’s iGUi have arrived in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, which will see the opening of the brand’s first store in the Gulf by mid-January. This means the company – created in Gravataí (RS) and currently based in Cedral (SP) – will be present in 43 different countries. There are plans to open a second store, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in this first quarter.

This won’t be iGUi’s first move in an Arab country: the company has franchise outlets in Egypt, Morocco and Jordan. The UAE franchisee is Atul Shah, a businessman who sells concrete pools.

“These stores will comply with iGUi’s standards by selling only the brand’s own pools,” explains international director Marcelo Pazos. According to him, this is not common practice with foreign franchises, which are usually multibrand. “But this particular franchisee chose to have a standalone store to keep it separated from his current business.”

Pazos explains that the pools on sale in Dubai will be shipped in from iGUi’s Mexico plant – the brand has 40 factories around the world. “Mexico usually supplies our international markets, but our Egypt and Morocco stores get pools made in our Portugal plant,” he says.

Talks for a manufacturing operation in an Arab country are ongoing. A few years back, the company was contacted by Jordanian investors looking to have a unit to supply the Middle East, but plans didn’t move forward. “Talks are ongoing. Late last year we were sought by Egyptian business owners. Before that, there were Algerians – and we don’t even have a store in Algeria yet. Now, we are about to see some entrepreneurs from Lebanon. This is a long process, it’s not simple,” the director says.

The plan, according to Pazos, is for investors to build a plant under brand licensing – unlike what iGUi used to do early on: it handled all of the investment for its Argentina, Mexico and Portugal operations. “In Paraguay, where we opened a plant in 2016, the franchisee took care of the investment. And it worked: we went from two to 13 outlets in the country,” he explains.

Established in 1995 by Rio Grande do Sul state native Filipe Sisson, iGUi became a franchise business in 2008. That same year, it relocated from Gravataí to Cedral. It currently boasts 800 franchises around the world, 180 of them in countries other than Brazil.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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