Chairman and Managing Director | Kingston Investment Holding Group
Chairman and Managing Director of the Kingston Investment Holding Group, Lalu Samuel is a self-made UAE-based entrepreneur and industrialist. A management wizard and a widely respected business personality in the Middle East, he is currently recognised as the largest investor in Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone).
Calm, jovial and humble, Lalu has steered Kingston Investment Holdings into becoming one of the largest regional business groups with interests in various sectors. With operations spread across the GCC, Levant area, Africa, Central Asia, the UK and Europe, the industrial manufacturing division with its partners command an extensive network of facilities that manufactures over 50,000 SKUs in various categories.
The company has an impressive asset inventory, robust production capabilities, and an expansive logistics base to support the manufacture of products within the UAE for global distribution. Its benchmarks are its product quality, on-time deliveries and environmental consciousness.
Born in the South Indian State of Kerala, India in a Christian family, La lu was educated at the Holy Angels convent school. He completed his degree in mathematics, physics, statistics and cost accountancy for professional studies, and secured an MBA in General Management, before moving to t he UAE in 1982. During his studies, Lalu was actively involved in sports and various extracurricular activities including the Brains trust, NCC and Air Wing.
He was also involved in the university’s political wing and held position as party unit president. After university studies, he joined ICWAI and started at a leading cost accounting firm for articleship, where he took up several major internal audit assignments and the management consultancy of several major firms, as well as overseeing the project feasibility studies of several manufacturing projects. Lalu then Joined the family business, involving the construction of roads and bridges, and managed this for a short period.
In 1982, he moved to Dubai to manage yet another part of the family business, dealing in electrical products and accessories. It was at this time that Lalu leveraged a turnkey deal and managed business for British Telecom with Etisalat. Lalu’s hard work, coupled with his passion for what he does has enabled him to successfully lead several businesses and labels with established multinational businesses and brands.
His high position in the corridors of business in the region saw him being granted the golden card visa by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs of Sharjah in 2019. Lalu was the first expatriate to be awarded the Golden Visa in the emirate. His resourcefulness and powerful business sense has won him several awards. Lalu was featured by Forbes in its list of Top 100 Indian Leaders in the Arab World from 2013 to 2022. He has also won the SaifZone Excellence (SEA) Businessman Award.
Lalu started his first business venture in 1984, it was at this time when Lalu was assigned to manage the British telecommunication business with Etisalat. He expanded from telecom products to electrical products, domestic and industrial switches, smart home automation, computer networking, room control systems, and lighting.
He expanded to other verticals over time. The group today holds a million square feet in land area, with two factories manufacturing almost 1,200 products. It occupies 300,000 sq. ft. of third-party logistics space and 200,000 sq. ft. of office space. The group has several business verticals including manufacturing, shipping, freight forwarding, third-party logistics, consumer batteries, retail, property development, human resource outsourcing, headhunting, executive search energy audits and a retrofitting a rm.
The group has won several awards for excellence in manufacturing, and its exemplary contribution towards the economic development of the country. lt also earned the M RM award for manufacturing in the Major Industries category.
Kingston Industries is one of the largest manufacturers of electrical products in Asia and Europe. Equipped with the most modern machinery, the manufacturing plants are certified to ISO9001, 14001 & 45001. The manufacturing plants are built to world-class standards and have passed EFQM (European Foundation for Quality Management) audits several times.
The firm’s industrial division has two manufacturing plants producing 176 million metres of electrical conduit pipes, and a metal plant that produces 73 million boxes annually. Apart from this manufacturing business, the company has a distribution business with chapters in Bahrain, Qatar, Ireland, East Africa, the UK and Europe. The group today manufactures all products under the Rexton brand, which is the flagship brand of Kingston Holdings.
It thrives as the largest manufacturer of electrical products in Asia, with a 250,000 sq. ft. covered manufacturing floor area that yields 1,200 products in its Sharjah facility. The company’s zero defects policy has led to most leading developers, contractors and consultants in the region opting to use and endorse its products. He set up his first manufacturing plant in 1998 in a technical collaboration with an Australian family company to support regional growth. The company now sells its products and services to over 100 countries in the region.
The property development division owns a large portfolio of properties with a built-up area of over 550,000 sq. ft. for commercial, industrial and residential use. The division owns all the properties used in manufacturing logistics, regional warehousing, shipping, freight forwarding and third-party logistics and office space.
This division owns 300,000 sq. ft. of third-party logistics space and services a large number of customers with offices in SaifZone, Hamriyah Free Zone, Dubai and in Ras Al Khaimah. The group has a joint venture with the Hong Kong-based GP Batteries. GP Batteries is the third largest battery manufacturer in the world, with a dominant share of up to 60 percent of the world market for 9-volt batteries. The company manufactures OEMs for several international companies and is a leader in several categories for the products it manufactures.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Lalu’s actions directly help develop communities. He works very closely with the Sharjah Police Community Development Department to enhance the security of thickly populated residential areas.
Kingston Investment recently participated in creating the First Green Police Station in Sharjah, where the LED lighting and automatic light control systems installed by the firm save up to 70 per cent more power than conventional light sources.
Sharjah is the industrial capital of the UAE, with an export revenue of 23 billion that houses 44 percent of UAE’s small, medium and large industries. It is therefore fitting that Lalu is the nominated chairman of the Industries Group under the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, given that his empire contributes a great deal to the sector. It comes as no surprise that Lalu supports the industrialisation drive in Sharjah.
He works closely with the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry towards improving and bridging the communication between the public and private businesses and even suggests industrial strategies for the coming years. That aside, Lalu has worked with Sharjah University to establish mechanical labs for engineering students, and supports women’s health projects via the Pink Caravan Initiatives, apart from collaborating on government-led private and public partnerships. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Chamber and Sharjah Seen. His work has earned him a nomination as Tolerance Ambassador.
Lalu is married to Lovely Lalu Samuel, a postgraduate university rank holder from Gandhi University and who is actively involved in the business. Lovely is a pillar of strength and handles her role as Director of the company and the expansion of the family business with aplomb.
The couple is blessed with three daughters — Michelle, Ashley and Angela. Michelle is a qualified electrical engineer with an MBA in Supply Chain. Meanwhile, Ashley is a chartered accountant with CFA, and Angela is a postgraduate lawyer who graduated from the University of Reading in the UK.
The Lifestyle of Success
Lalu maintains a healthy lifestyle, with a strict weight and exercise regime and enjoys reading, cycling, travelling and music and social interactions. A state-level athlete during his growing up years in Kerala, Samuel also led the national junior boxing team, and a 2nd dan black belt in karate. A fitness enthusiast, he even went to the extent of learning kalaripayattu, the famed and ancient traditional South Indian martial art.