Luxury phone firm targets Saudi for growth

EXCLUSIVE: Vertu president eyes kingdom for major retail expansion.

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By  Soren Billing Published  September 14, 2008

The head of Vertu, the Nokia-owned luxury mobile phone brand, has said the company will post double digit revenue growth in the coming two years, with new retail space in Saudi Arabia boosting its Middle East performance.

“I think Saudi Arabia has tremendous opportunities and is growing really rapidly,” Vertu president Alberto Torres said.

“We started a bit later there and the development of the retail infrastructure is not as strong as in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“But there is clearly a lot of construction at the moment, and all around the Middle East.”

Vertu phones are made from exclusive materials such as gold, sapphire and rubies and can sell for up to $310,000.

Nokia doesn’t break out Vertu’s profit and revenue figures but the company is profitable and revenue growth has been in triple digits in the last two years, it said.

In a slowing economy, luxury retailers usually fare better than their mid market counterparts due to their wealthier clientele, but Torres admitted that the company’s growth prospects may be affected in the short term.

“If you think about the next 12-18 months, maybe the growth won't be as high as it would have been otherwise, but we still think we’ll see quite strong double digit growth and I think we’ll see good opportunities to continue our expansion,” he said.

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