2020: Towards the next 50

Our History

Our History

6. History

The Al Otaiba family history starts with the pearls business, which was very successful in pearls trade for many centuries, where the Al Otaiba family rose high above the others, becoming known as the Kings of Pearls. But in the 1940s, the regions of Arabia became a very different place and the pearling industry saw a sharp decline. Rather than buckle in these trying times for pearl traders, the Al Otaiba family did what they do best: adapted to the new business landscape and sought success in other markets.

This new, modern direction for the family culminated in 1946 with the establishment of the Mohamed Hareb Al Otaiba (MHAO) Group in Abu Dhabi, which heralded a new style of business venture. The group grew quickly, acquiring some of the world’s most trusted brands.

In 1975, Mr Hareb Mohammed Al Otaiba completed a deal for MHAO brokering an agreement to bring the trusted and internationally renowned vehicle hire brand Avis Rent a Car to the UAE. Today, Avis Rent a Car is the fastest growing transport provider in the Middle East. Big names were drafted in from other industries as well, such as the technology giant Xerox. This deal saw Xerox and MHAO join forces to launch Xerox Emirates, which brought the entire range of digital copy, scan and print products, solutions, and managed print services to the UAE.

This period, under the stewardship of Mr Hareb Al Otaiba, would see the group’s greatest period of diversification since its inception, as MHAO branched out into new arenas while still only offering products and services of the highest quality. After opening its prestigious Dubai showroom in the early 1970s, MHAO continued to succeed in diverse sectors, including also office equipment and sporting goods, among others. With more than 70 years of excellence under its belt, MHAO is now one of the most well-known and respected names in the UAE.

Since coming under the chairmanship, in 1995, of Mr Mohamed Hareb Al Otaiba, who rose to the challenge of running the group in his early twenties following the passing of his father, MHAO has only accelerated its strive for excellence, adding further household names to its portfolio.

As for the future, the goal of MHAO is clear; to continue in the long tradition of master Al Otaiba traders and extend the journey to make both the company and family household names throughout the Middle East and beyond.

In 2019, Arabian Horeca, a MHAO Group Company, started a franchising partnership with Trucillo, a premium Italian coffee brand, becoming the exclusive distributor for Trucillo coffe in UAE and opening the first trucillo café in Al Seef Dubai.

Established strategic alliance with Blomberg, offering a premium line of household appliances complementing the Bosch range, to further increase market share.

World-renowned engineering and electronics firm-and long-time MHAO group partner – Bosch signs a strategic alliance with the group to increase market share in the regional household appliances sector.

Mr. Mohamed Hareb Al Otaiba takes over as Chairman. Under his leadership, the company expands rapidly, adding more prestigious international brands to its portfolio.

Xerox Emirates – a joint venture between MHAO and Xerox – is launched, offering the latest and most advanced range of office equipment in the Middle East.

Mr. Hareb Mohamed Al Otaiba franchises US vehicle rental firm Avis, opening its first office in Abu Dhabi.

MHAO opens a new showroom and office in Dubai, a city fast-emerging as a major Middle East marketplace.

Hareb Al Otaiba takes over the reins. The Group secures exclusive rights to high-end products, including food service equipment, domestic appliances, as well as sports and leisure goods.

The Al Otaiba family diversifies and the Mohamed Hareb Al Otaiba Group is formed in Abu Dhabi as a general trading and offshore services establishment.

The Al Otaiba family establishes themselves as excellent and reputed pearl traders across the world.

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