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SAN CLEMENTE, CA-Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurants will enter the Middle East later this year, opening in Dubai in the fourth quarter. The restaurant will be the first of at least 12 units to open throughout the Middle East by 2020, through an exclusive franchise rights agreement with Mubarak Al-Hassawi Restaurant Development Group. The deal also covers the rest of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Oman and Lebanon. A letter of intent between the two companies had been announced in March 2007.

“We are excited to finalize this stage of our relationship with Mubarak Al-Hassawi Restaurant Development Group. Their exceptional global and financial resources and reputation are a tremendous complement to our overall growth strategy,” says Scott Barnett, president and CEO of Bubba Gump, in a press release. Previously, the company announced overall plans to open 35 to 50 restaurants in the next five years.

The development group consists of several international companies that specialize in hospitality, real estate and industrial manufacturing. “Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is a recognized global brand with a record of financial success in markets throughout the world. We look forward to introducing Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. to the Middle East, starting with our initial location in Dubai,” says Fawzia Mubarak Al-Hassawi, president of the group. Bubba Gump operates 31 restaurants in the US, Mexico, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

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