Renowned hotelier Didi, Indian billionaire Abhishek Verma announce strategic alliance to invest in Maldives

Legendary Maldivian hotelier Ibrahim Mohammed Didi and Indian billionaire Abhishek Verma has announced a strategic alliance to invest in Maldives, especially in the island nation’s lucrative tourism industry.

The agreement signed on February 9 by Didi and Verma’s Olialia World covers five strategic investments in the Maldives, including the recently announced Olialia New Maldives concept.

The development concept includes the construction of four luxury hotels, Chariots of the Gods theme park, a shipping and container port, a Special Economic Zone with offshore banking and export zones for seafood and poultry, a freight terminal, helicopter service across the Maldives with a fleet of 10 twin engine helicopters, an 18-hole golf course, housing project for upmarket villas and chalets, a bank, two hospitals containing about 300 inpatient beds each, and monorail between the islands of the northern atolls of Maldives along with a five-kilometre connecting bridge.

“The concept would be submitted to the Maldivian authorities for approval in due course,” Olialia and Didi’s SIMDI Group said, in a joint statement.

Under the deal, the alliance will take over certain five star resorts in the Maldives owned by the Didi family, and rebrand those as Olialia Island Resorts and operate those under a management contract.

The five-point deal also includes the promotion and distribution of Olialia FMCG products such as cigarettes, cola, juices, confectionary, scented supari, herbal mouth fresheners and pan masala through the sales outlets and channel partners of SIMDI Group.

Other salient features of the strategic alliance formed by the two business moguls include the setting up of Olialia poultry and mariculture farms in existing islands owned by the Didi family, for export and domestic consumption.

The strategic alliance also includes the takeover and rebranding of the IMDC Hospital in Maldives as Olialia IMDC Hospital and to operate it under a management contract.

“Verma family company ‘Olialia Healthcare’ will extend the facilities in the hospital for high end medical tourism, cosmetic/plastic surgery, adding water villas and chalets and bringing in renowned European doctors for various faculties of the hospital,” the statement read.

Didi is a legendary hotelier who revolutionised the Maldives tourism industry by developing the iconic Kanuhura resort under the One&Only brand with hotel magnate Sir Sol Kerzner. He owns several other properties in Maldives and around the world. The trading businesses owned by him under SIMDI Group are amongst the leading companies in the Maldives, representing some of the world’s major brands.

Abhishek Verma, who serves as the Chief Evangelist of Olialia World, is a successful industrialist, owning a number of conglomerates in defence sector, FMCG and aviation industries. According to Forbes Europe, his wife Anca Verma, who is also a leading figure in the Olialia business, is the richest Romanian in the world and one of the wealthiest female billionaires of Europe.

Lately, Olialia World has been focussing on the Maldives in order to expand its operations to the beautiful archipelago in the Indian ocean.

Olialia brand’s Lithuanian co-founders — Justas Tomkus and his wife Rasa Tomkiene, and Rytis Tomkus — had initiated the Verma family in 2011 to invest in the development of Maldives. The plans culminated in success when in October 2017, Olialia India Private Limited was invited by the Maldives government to construct an international airport near a huge lagoon located far away from the island nation’s capital city of Male.

Plans are already underway to build the Olialia International Airport project, under the Build, Own and Transfer (BOT) model.

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