M. A. Yusuff Ali
Ali in 2023
Yusuff Ali Musaliam Veettil Abdul Kader

(1955-11-15) 15 November 1955 (age 68)
OccupationsChairman and managing director of
OfficeY Tower, Abu Dhabi[3]
SpouseShabira Yusuff Ali
RelativesShamsheer Vayalil (son-in-law), Adeeb Ahamed (son-in-law)[4]

Yusuff Ali Musaliam Veettil Abdul Kader, popularly known as M. A. Yusuff Ali (born 15 November 1955), is an Indian businessman and billionaire. He is the chairman and managing director of LuLu Group International, which owns the LuLu Hypermarket chain worldwide and LuLu International Shopping Mall. With an annual turnover of US$8.4 billion, LuLu Group International employs the largest number of Indian diaspora|.[5][6] According to Forbes Middle East, Yusuff Ali was ranked No. 1 in Top 100 Indian business owners in the Arab World 2018.[7] As per Forbes billionaires list published in October 2023, he was ranked 27th richest Indian with net worth of US$6.9 billion.[8]

In 2006, he started his large business ventures in India, by starting a convention centre cum hotel at his native place Thrissur, Kerala namely Lulu Convention Centre.[9] In 2013, Yusuff Ali acquired 4.99% of the Thrissur-based Catholic Syrian Bank (CSB)[10][11] and 4.99% shares of Thrissur based Dhanlaxmi Bank.[12] Also in 2013, he increased his stake in the Aluva-based Federal Bank to 4.47%.[13] In 2014 Yusuff Ali acquired 2% stake of South Indian Bank - another Thrissur based bank.[14] In 2016, Yusuff Ali purchased the Scotland Yard Building in London.[15] As of 2013, he held a 9.37% share in Cochin International Airport.[16] He has bought a 10% stake in the UK-based trading firm, East India Company, and a 40% stake in its fine foods subsidiary for around $85 million in total.[17][18][19]

The Lulu Bolgatty International Convention Centre on Bolghatty Island in Kochi is one of the largest convention centres in South Asia,[20] along with Grand Hyatt hotel[21] in the same campus. Lulu group's First Mall in India was LuLu International Shopping Mall, Kochi started in 2013, then in 2019, he started shopping mall in India at Triprayar, Thrissur, Kerala, the Y Mall.[22][23] In October 2021, Lulu group opened their second mall in India, Global Mall, at Rajaji Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka.[24] In December 2021, Lulu group opened their third mall in India at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.[25] In July 2022, Lulu group opened their fourth mall in India at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.[25] And in 2023, LuLu Group launches a new hypermarket and mall in Hyderabad, as well as a hypermarket in Coimbatore.[26][27]

Early life

Yusuff Ali was born in a Muslim family in Nattika in Thrissur district of Kerala on 15 November 1955. He did his schooling in Karanchira at St. Xavier's High School.[28] He holds a diploma in Business Management and Administration.

After his studies, he left India in 1973 to Abu Dhabi, where his paternal uncle, M K Abdullah, the chairman and the founder of the LuLu Group of Companies, was doing business. He developed the import and wholesale distribution of the group and ventured into the supermarket business by launching the Lulu Hypermarket. He started his first Lulu Hypermarket in the 1990s, a time when the UAE's retail sector witnessed a major change, with the traditional groceries and supermarkets yielding place to large neighbourhood stores and hypermarkets. While the entry of Continent (now Carrefour) in 1995 changed the face of retail business in Dubai, Yusuff Ali took charge of Abu Dhabi's retail sector by rolling out LuLu Hypermarket.[29][30]

LuLu Group International

LuLu Group International commenced its operations as a family business venture. After joining the business, Yusuff Ali diversified the business to include the import and distribution of frozen products from Europe and the United States. The products were available not only in Abu Dhabi but also in other Emirates. The business was soon expanded to include both food and non-food categories. The group also started cold storage, meat, and food processing plants, large-scale import and distribution to hotel groups, catering companies, and shipping services. By the 1980s, the group had a sizable share of the wholesale and retail food market in the UAE.

The group has grown into an international group with operations spread over three continents. The group's flagship retail chain of LuLu Hypermarkets and Supermarkets is currently rated as one of the major players in the Middle East retail sector with more than 100 stores in Arab states of the Persian Gulf. Apart from the hypermarkets, supermarkets and department stores, the group also owns several shopping malls, namely, Khalidiyah Mall, Al Raha Mall, Al Wahda Mall, Mushriff Mall, Madinat Zayed Mall, Mazyad Mall, Ramli Mall, RAK Mall, Al Foah Mall, Al Khor Mall, Riyadh Avenue Mall in Saudi Arabia and Oman Avenues Mall spread across the GCC states.

LuLu International Shopping Mall in Kochi, Kerala was opened on 10 March 2013. It is the group's first retail venture in India, and currently the largest shopping mall in India. LuLu International Shopping Mall in Thiruvananthapuram was opened in 2021. The Group has a vast organizational structure of over 65,000 employees, representing 42 different nationalities, out of which more than 30,000 are Indians. Retail business is the mainstay of the Group with operations in major Middle Eastern and African countries like UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and Kenya, having Retail Sourcing and manufacturing bases located in the Far East, India, Africa and Guangzhou in China. Indian operations mainly include Food Processing, Export of Food & Non food products and convention center with bases in Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Lucknow and Thrissur. Deloitte has ranked the Group as one of the fastest-growing retailers in the world.[31][32][33][34][35]


Yusuff Ali is very closely involved in many social, charitable and humanitarian activities both in India as well as in the Arab states of the Gulf. He has done various philanthropic activities across the globe. As part of its Global CSR policy, the LuLu Group joined hands with Dubai Cares and adopted schools in Gaza and Nepal.[36][37] Yusuff Ali contributed and took initiative to open a multi-faith funeral centre for the Indian community in Sharjah that spread across 8.3 acres.[38] He also took initiative to sell and promote organic products grown by the special needs community in UAE through LuLu Hypermarkets[39][40] Yusuff Ali donated towards the Gujarat earthquake, Tsunami Relief Fund in Asia, and Typhoon and flood relief in other parts of the world. He also donated Rs 9.5 crores for relief and rehabilitation of Kerala flood victims in August 2018. He is also actively involved in ensuring the social, economic and religious welfare of expatriate Indians in the Persian Gulf region. He played a major role in finding land for the Christian community in the region to build churches, and secure cremation grounds for the Hindu populace in the Gulf region. M. A. Yusuff Ali also extended help to Indians during the amnesty period in the Persian Gulf when hundreds of Indians lost their livelihood. He helped rehabilitate people who lost their livelihood in the Calicut market fire as well.[41][42][43] Yusuff Ali had pledged to donate Rs 50 million for the flood-hit south Indian state of Kerala in the event of the 2019 Kerala floods.[44]

Personal life

He is married, with three children, and lives in Abu Dhabi, UAE.[45] His elder daughter Shabeena is married to billionaire businessman Shamsheer Vayalil.[46][47] His second daughter Shafeena is married to Adeeb Ahamed who runs Lulu International Exchange and Twenty14 Holdings, the group's hospitality investments division.[48] Youngest daughter Shifa is married to Sharoon Shamsudheen who is into successful IT businesses.[4]

On 11 April 2021 the helicopter in which M.A. Yusuff Ali, his wife and three others including the pilots crash landed in a swamp near Kochi, Kerala. Ali and his wife were uninjured and were taken to a nearby hospital for first aid. The private helicopter owned by the businessman had suffered a technical glitch due to adverse weather.[49]

Recognition and awards


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  5. ^ "Forbes News". Forbes. 2015.
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  7. ^ East, Forbes Middle. "Top 100 Indian Business Owners In The Arab World 2018". Forbes ME.
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  9. ^ Lulu, Thrissur. "Kerala tourism".
  10. ^ "Yusuf Ali mops up 4.99% stake in Catholic Syrian Bank". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 10 July 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  11. ^ "Billionaires 2013 Notable Newcomers". Forbes. 2013. Archived from the original on 28 December 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  12. ^ "Yousaf Ali buys shares of Dhanlaxmi bank". Indian Express.
  13. ^ "NRI businessman MA Yousuf Ali picks up stake in Federal Bank". The Times of India. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  14. ^ "Yusuffali buys over 2 per cent stake in South Indian Bank". Business Standard India. 21 January 2014.
  15. ^ "Lulu Group front-runner to buy original Scotland Yard premises in London". The National. 12 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Yusuff Ali lifts stake in Cochin International Airport | Kochi News - Times of India". The Times of India.
  17. ^ "Lulu Group makes $85m investment in East India Company". gulfnews.com.
  18. ^ "You are being redirected..." yusuffali.com.
  19. ^ "Lulu launches into luxury sector with investment in UK's East India Company". The National. 9 October 2014.
  20. ^ "The Lulu Bolgatty International Convention Centre! | RITZ". 2 May 2018.
  21. ^ "Hyatt Newsroom - News Releases". Hyatt Newsroom.
  22. ^ Bureau, Indiaretailing (1 January 2019). "Lulu Group opens Y Mall at Thrissur".
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  24. ^ "Global mall inaugurated". Bangalore Mirror.
  25. ^ a b "Biggest mall in Capital to open in Dec". The New Indian Express.
  26. ^ "Coimbatore gets LuLu's first hypermarket in Tamil Nadu". The Hindu.
  27. ^ "LuLu Group launches its first hypermarket, mega mall in Hyderabad". The Indian Express.
  28. ^ "Yusuff Ali visits school where he studied 51 years ago, spends quality time with friends".
  29. ^ "LuLu named fastest-growing retailer by audit firm Deloitte". Saudi Gazette.com. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  30. ^ "HRH the Crown Prince leads Bahrain business delegation to India". AMEinfo.com. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  31. ^ "Emke group to invest Rs 600 cr in Kerala". Business Standard India. Business Standard. Press Trust of India. 3 February 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
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  33. ^ "LuLu Mall together with LuLu Hypermarket opens in Kochi". International Supermarket News. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  34. ^ "Spearheading a retail revolution". Gulf News. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  35. ^ "Emke will invest Dh4.3b to expand retail chain". Gulf News. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  36. ^ "Lulu Group teams up with Dubai Cares". gulftoday.ae. 11 February 2013. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  37. ^ "Newspapers From Around the World". PressDisplay.com. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  38. ^ "Funeral centre for Indians opens in Sharjah". Khaleej Times. 21 February 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  39. ^ "Organic vegetables grown by special needs community in UAE to be sold in Lulu hypermarkets". GulfNews.com. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  40. ^ "People with special needs grow organic vegetables in 35-hectare farm". GulfNews.com. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  41. ^ "Work begins on Dh1.6b SmartCity Kochi project". Gulf News. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  42. ^ "Yousuf Ali comes out with flying colours". Gulf News. Retrieved 23 December 2009.
  43. ^ "Global Arab Business Meeting to be held in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, 9-10 December 2012". AMEinfo.com. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  44. ^ "UAE based Indian retail tycoon MA Yusuffali of Lulu Group pledges Rs 50 million for flood-hit Kerala". gulfnews.com. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  45. ^ "Forbes profile: M.A. Yusuff Ali". Forbes. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  46. ^ "Shamsheer Vayalil". Forbes.
  47. ^ "Shamsheer and Shabeena Vayalil". GlassPockets.
  48. ^ "Yusuff Ali: A mentor to his sons-in-law". Forbes.
  49. ^ "'Helicopter carrying M.A. Yusuff Ali crash landes'". The Hindu. 11 April 2021. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  50. ^ "Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Divas awards announced". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 5 January 2005. Archived from the original on 12 January 2005. Retrieved 5 January 2005.
  51. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  52. ^ "Award for Emke group CEO". Business Standard India. Business Standard. 5 November 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2010.
  53. ^ "Yusuff Ali scoops top prize at Indian CEO Awards". Arabian Business. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  54. ^ "Swiss Ambassador's Award recognises notable efforts". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  55. ^ "LuLu head 'most influential Asian business leader'". Gulf Times. 7 November 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  56. ^ "Global Arab Business Meeting". Horasis.
  57. ^ "Mr. Yusuffali lays down foundation of Sports Complex at AMU". Two Circles. 31 March 2014. Archived from the original on 3 September 2021. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  58. ^ "M A Yousuf Ali: Mar Gregorios award to Yousuf Ali | Kochi News - Times of India". The Times of India.
  59. ^ "M A Yousuf Ali: M A Yousuf Ali receives Mar Gregorios award | Thiruvananthapuram News - Times of India". The Times of India.
  60. ^ "Middlesex University Dubai doctorate for LuLu chairman". Arab News. 20 November 2018.
  61. ^ "Mahatma Gandhi University honours T Padmanabhan, MA Yusuff Ali". Deccan Chronicle. 14 December 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2020.
  62. ^ "'M.A. Yusuff Ali gets the highest civilian award of Abu Dhabi'". Times Of India. 11 April 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  63. ^ "M.A. Yusuff Ali - LuLu Group's journey into an Emirati multinational conglomerate company". Brandzwatch. 29 September 2021. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
  64. ^ Gokulan, Dhanusha. "Lulu Group head MA Yusuff Ali is the first recipient of Bahrain Golden Visa". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 20 May 2022.