Celebrating 60 years of Spinneys

Meikles Hotel Zimbabwe

Locally-owned supermarket Spinneys celebrates 60 years of doing business in the UAE this month and, to mark the milestone, is launching a ‘60 Years of Spinneys’ campaign.

Reflecting on the grocer’s journey from frozen chicken vendor to leading UAE supermarket brand, Spinneys credits its success to its employees and their unwavering commitment to providing customers with the best possible products in the best possible way.

“As we reach this 60-year milestone, with immense pride in who we have become, we look back at our journey and appreciate how lucky we are to have been part of the UAE’s story and community. We have walked the entrepreneurial road and built a legacy here in the UAE,” says Ali Albwardy, Chairman of Albwardy Investments and owner of Spinneys.

Spinneys’ journey began in 1961 when it opened its first supermarket in Deira, at what is now known as Al Nasr Square. The outlet’s first customer was the late Dubai Ruler, Sheikh Rashed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who bought a bottle of grenadine. At that time, the locals referred to Spinneys as the ‘The Frozen Chicken’ as it was the only retailer to sell frozen chickens from a chiller van. Such innovation has remained as Spinneys continues to keep pace with changes in cooking trends and the emergence of new products worldwide. 

“Innovation is part of the UAE’s DNA, and this has inspired our ethos at Spinneys to always innovate and offer our customers the very best products. Supporting our community also lies at the core of our values and, as one of the country’s leading supermarket brands, we know we have the responsibility to always add more value through our work. We would also not be where are today without our dedicated staff – their talent and invaluable support are key to our long-term growth,” added Albwardy.

Today, Spinneys operates 65 stores across the UAE with in-store bakeries, butcheries and delicatessens. As well as supporting local food producers within the region, the company has developed an enviable and comprehensive network of reputable suppliers around the world. In 2014, Spinneys became the first supermarket in the region to join GLOBALG.A.P. – the global partnership for good agricultural practices which promotes sustainable sourcing policies.

Committed to the health and wellbeing of its customers and the environment, the company’s mantra ‘Eat Well, Live Well’ is reflected in its product offering and the implementation of its sustainability practices. The Spinneys UAE Farmers Club was founded in 2015 and comprises eight growers and producers devoted to developing sustainable farming. Working together, they can supply shoppers with home-grown harvests throughout the year.

Growing demand from conscious consumers to provide a wider variety of food products to cater to specific preferences, from natural ingredients to organic and free-from products, has inspired Spinneys to expand its offering to include more innovative products that promote sustainable, healthy eating.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most significant stress test the F&B industry has ever had to endure. Despite some very challenging times, Spinneys has continued to support its customers and community. The past year saw the supermarket launch an incubator programme for local F&B brands to support the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy. Participation surpassed Spinneys’ expectations, with more than 160 local businesses entering submissions of an exceptionally high standard. Today, 16 micro suppliers are now listed in-store, and another two companies have been accepted into its product development programme.

The Spinneys e-commerce launch was another direct response to consumers’ changing preference to shop for groceries online – bringing Spinneys’ ‘freshest experience’ straight to their doors. Spinneys anticipates demand for online grocery will continue to gather pace and, with big plans for 2021, Spinneys is committed to delivering the best omnichannel customer experience.

Spinneys’ 60th-anniversary celebrations will kick-off with the launch of a new short film in March, followed by a series of activations throughout the year to commemorate the milestone with staff and customers. This includes a bake-off where Spinneys will attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the world’s biggest Honey Cake – a favourite own-brand bakery classic that customers have enjoyed for years.

Dubai’s Albwardy Investments Completes Purchase of Meikles Hotel

Meikles Hotel ZimbabweASB Hospitality Zimbabwe, a subsidiary of Dubai-headquartered Albwardy Investment, will assume ownership of the 312-bed five-star Meikles Hotel on March 1 2020, following the completion of a US$20 million procurement deal between Albwardy and hospitality concern, Meikles Limited (ZSE:MEIK), Zwnews reports.
Meikles Limited recently announced that it had consented to sell-off it’s flagship Meikles Hotel to ASB Hospitality for US$20 million. The move by Meikles Limited to sell off the hotel comes in the wake of low occupancy rates and lack of investment in the refurbishment and back of house services at the hotel.
In a notice to shareholders this Wednesday morning, Meikles Limited Company Secretary Thabani Mpofu confirmed the latest development.
“The Directors wish to advise shareholders that the requisite terms for regularising the control of the Meikles Hotel to the Buyer per the Sale and Purchase Agreements have been met. The Buyer will take effective control of the Meikles Hotel on March 1 2020”, said Mpofu in a memo dated Wednesday 26 February, 2020.

Albwardy Investment boasts of a wide range of business concerns which include food distribution and retail, construction, shipyards and hospitality.
Late last year, Meikles Limited outlined reasons why it was disposing its renowned flagship.
“The Meikles Hotel has over the past two decades been impacted by relatively low occupancy rates and a subsequent lack of investment in refurbishment and back of house services. In order for the Hotel to compete with other leading hotels in southern Africa, foreign currency denominated long-term capital, the scale of which cannot be provided by Meikles is needed”, said the Group, back in 2019.
Meikles Limited also added that the investment would finance the modernisation of the whole operation, as well as general infrastructure improvements, which they hoped would restore it to international Five-Star standards.
“Meikles will seek to generate further value in its remaining assets through the re-investment of the proceeds from the Transaction in the agriculture and hospitality segments of the Group’s other businesses,” said the Group in its justification of the US$20 million deal.


Dubai beat VS King Power to lift polo's Gold Cup at Cowdray Park

Dubai beat VS King PowerTwo exciting semi-finals brought victories for Top Srivaddhanaprabha’s VS King Power team over Park Place and Ali Albwardy’s Dubai against Scone Polo, taking them to Sunday’s Gold Cup final – a repeat of the 2014 showpiece.

VS King Power, who have added VS to the team’s name in memory of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha who lost his life in a helicopter crash at Leicester City’s stadium in October 2018, altered their line-up for the final.

Vichai’s son ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha was No1 as usual, but Polito Pieres took the No2 slot, Marcos di Paola moving up to three and Juan Martin Zubia playing at back. Dubai kept their line-up unchanged with 16-year-old Camilo Castagnola at one, Rashid Albwardy at two, Bartolomé Castagnola at three and Ignacio du Plessis at back.

Chukka one opened with Pieres immediately on the attack, his first attempt at goal going wide. A couple of minutes of frantic action resulted in a penalty being awarded to Dubai which Camilo Castagnola sent from 30 yards to secure the opening goal of the match for his side. A lovely steal by Polito was the making of goal No2, with Zubia picking up the ball and sending it between the posts. Polito won the ball from the throw and tore to Dubai’s end to make it 2-1 for King Power. Camilo and Bartolomé  Castagnola produced three goals in chukka two, and, with just one from Pieres for VS King Power, it ended with Dubai 4-3 ahead.

A fast and tough chukka three saw a spot penalty awarded to KVS King Power in front of Dubai’s goal, which Polito sent through to equalise, but Bartolomé answered with two goals for Dubai and at the end of the first half it was 6-4 in Dubai’s favour. The massive crowd went out to tread-in and when the fourth chukka got under way, a fantastic piece of play saw Polito Pieres leave the ball for Zubia, who obliged with a huge lofted shot to score goal number 11 for VS King Power. Rashid Albwardy won the ball from the throw-in but di Paola grabbed it back, Zubia stopped Bartolomé from snatching it while di Paola came through and passed to Srivaddhanaprabha, who made a superb goal to make it 6-6. Another fantastic goal from Srivaddhanaprabha and King Power were ahead. A 30-yard penalty awarded to King Power just as the chukka was drawing to a close enabled Polito Pieres to extend the lead to 8-6. A frantic fifth chukka saw spot penalties produce a goal for each side before a fantastic shot, hit from way back, saw Polito Pieres take VS King Power on to 10-7. His next goal came from a 60-yard penalty and it was 11-7 in VS King Power’s favour.

 Dubai won the next throw-in but with Bartolomé  challenged by Pieres, his young brother coolly slipped through and scored, the chukka ending at 11-8 to VS King Power.
 The sixth chukka opened with a swift goal from Camilo, then it was his brother’s turn to shoot a mighty goal. Camilo won the ball from the throw-in and there was a scramble in front of VS King Power’s goal which resulted in a whistle. Bartolomé  calmly sent the ball through the posts from 60 yards and it was 11-11. The excitement levels grew. VS King Power won the throw-in and Pieres scored to take his side into the lead again. Srivaddhanaprabha saved the ball from Dubai’s next attempt at goal, but, aided by the power of du Plessis, Bartolomé evened up the scores at 12-12 before the whistle blew. The match went into a seventh chukka. Away went Zubia with the ball, but du Plessis struck out for the other end. Srivaddhanaprabha made a great clearance, the ball taken on by di Paola, Pieres and then Zubia who raced away to Dubai’s goal only to send the ball wide. Off down the boards raced Bartolomé, the wonderfully intuitive combination with his brother which we have seen throughout this Gold Cup tournament coming to the fore as Camilo dived forward with the ball and put it through.

Dubai had won the King Power Gold Cup 13-12 in breathtaking finish.

Jon Rudkin, director of football for Leicester City FC, presented individual prizes to all players, tournament umpires and commentators before handing the coveted Gold Cup to Rashid Albwardy, son of the Dubai patron. The MVP award went to Pieres of VS King Power; Open Chacota, owned and played by Srivaddhanaprabha, was voted best playing patron’s pony, and Rebalde, owned and played by Camilo Castagnola, was awarded best playing pony of the match, with a rug presented by Lila Pearson. Ali Albwardy, patron of Dubai said: “It was such an exciting match. I’m proud of all the boys in this young team, they played fantastically – in fact, both teams had a wonderful match. “The game was entertaining to watch, hard, fast and exactly what polo should be. I thank Cowdray Park Polo Club for their fantastic organisation of the tournament.”

Gran Meliá Arusha takes brand into Africa for first time

Gran Melia Arusha albwardy

Gran Meliá Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening the first property under the flag in Africa, Gran Meliá Arusha.

Based in the heart of Arusha within northern Tanzania, the exclusive east African resort will be the perfect base for visitors looking to explore the natural beauty of some of Africa’s most striking landscapes, including the Serengeti and Kilimanjaro.

Gran Melia Arusha is a new addition to the extensive collaboration between Meliá Hotels International and Albwardy Investment.

Meliá Hotels International already successfully operates five Albwardy hotels: Meliá Zanzibar and Meliá Serengeti Lodge in Tanzania, Gran Meliá Iguazu in Argentina, Meliá London Kensington in the United Kingdom, and Meliá Desert Palm also in Dubai.

The luxury hotel will boast a convenient location for both international and regional travellers, located just a 45-minute drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport and 20-minute drive from Arusha Airport.

The property will also lend itself well to business travellers, offering a state-of-the-art conference centre and meeting facilities in the diplomatic hub of Tanzania.

Gran Meliá Arusha will feature 171 exquisitely decorated rooms and suites designed with earthy interiors and contemporary furniture to provide a relaxing atmosphere for guests.

The rooms are complete with private balconies, offering panoramic views over Mount Meru and the hotel’s luscious surrounding gardens.

Worlds biggest Rotortug named at Albwardy DamenWorld's biggest Rotortug named at Albwardy Damen

This January, Albwardy Damen in Sharjah hosted a naming ceremony for the world’s biggest Rotortug, the ART 100-46 RT Raven. The vessel will be operated by Perth-based KT Maritime Services Australia, a joint venture partnership between Kotug International and Teekay Shipping Australia.

The 46m long Infield Support Vessel (ISV), RT Raven is built to a Robert Allen design, and features DP2 and a 100 tonnes bollard pull capability. The new tug, built at the Sharjah yard, will be used for offshore support operations and has been designed and outfitted for operations in the Timor Sea. In particular, Albwardy Damen points out that RT Raven has been specifically designed to meet the field’s unique marine service requirements, which include tanker berthing and operations support, including emergency response.

Speaking at the delivery ceremony, Lars Seistrup, managing director of Albwardy Damen, commented: “This is a special vessel in many ways. It is the biggest Rotortug ever built, and it is also one of the most powerful tugs ever built in the UAE. We are very pleased with the end result which is the consequence of close cooperation and teamwork with the client.”

Albwardy Damen is a joint venture between Albwardy Investment, Dubai, and the Damen Shipyards Group, Holland. Both are family owned companies with a long history. The company provides shipbuilding and ship repair services to the marine and oil and gas related industries in the Middle East, and currently has a total workforce of around 1100 people of 26 different nationalities in three UAE locations- Dubai, Sharjah and Fujairah.