From humble origins, Villa Group has grown into one of Maldives’ largest businesses, with a presence in industries including energy, fisheries, tourism, aviation, sea transportation and communication
Villa Group was created by Qasim Ibrahim, who came from an impoverished background but gained experience working in a diverse range of jobs from the age of 10. By 1976, he decided to start his own business with the money he had saved and a $2,000 loan. That same year, Maldives’ GDP per capita was just $349 in current prices.
Ibrahim knew that commodities were needed in Maldives, so he began trading fuel and then building materials. He then branched out into fisheries, steadily accumulating capital and reinvesting in his company and country.
In 1986 Ibrahim registered the business as the Villa Shipping and Trading Company Limited. From there, the company’s growth, like that of the Maldives, has been dizzying.
Today, the Villa Group has assets worth more than $100 million and is active in all the country’s main industries. Besides expanding its original business lines, Villa Group poured its resources into the tourism sector and has become the single largest owner and operator of resorts in Maldives. The group has also created its own airline and an international airport.
“In all of these industry spaces we were pioneers – not in the sense that we were the first in the world to do it, but we were the first here in the Maldives,” said Ibrahim Siyad Qasim, the group’s managing director.
Over the years, Maldives’ GDP has multiplied by over 90 times since 1976 and has become a global success story of economic progress. Likewise, Villa Group has continued to expand both locally and internationally, establishing a reputation for trust and impeccable quality.