In the late 1930’s, just before World War II, two brothers – Mr Hasan and Mr Habib Mahmood – founded the Hasan & Habib s/o Mahmood Group of Companies. Mr Hasan Mahmood put to good use his extensive experience of the local shipping industry and his knowledge of the finer points of dhow captaincy as well as the ports in the region, as the Company commenced shipping goods by dhow all over the Gulf.
Mr. Hasan Mahmood
Mr. Habib Mahmood
The onset of World War II brought additional opportunities to the brothers who, before long, began supplying general goods and foodstuffs to Britain’s Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, and Army Garrisons in several areas of the Gulf. This service grew into a highly successful operation and soon became the backbone of the Group. Inevitably, the Hasan & Habib s/o Mahmood Group was then appointed as the official suppliers to Her Majesty’s Forces in the Gulf and the Group continued to provide this valuable service until the withdrawal of the Royal Forces in 1967. Still, to this day, the Company provides Supplies and Catering services to principal clients being various governmental and ministerial institutions, large catering companies, hotels and airlines.
During the late 1950’s, the Company had entered the property market, where it rapidly gained a reputation for its expertise in property and real estate dealings, both commercial and residential, all over the country. Moreover, at this time, land reclamation had just commenced between Bahrain’s Manama and Muharraq regions and the newly-founded Construction Division marked the Company’s transition into an expansion phase that is still in effect today. Successfully executed construction projects include the Isa Town Housing Schemes, the Sports Stadium and Swimming Pool (also at Isa Town), part of the ultra-modern Cable and Wireless Satellite Station, as well as a long list of less prestigious, but equally triumphant operations.
In the 1960’s, alongside it’s Supplies and Catering services, the Company established Eastern Bakeries and the Gulf Cold Storage and Ice Plant Co., to which a water purification unit was added in late 1967. This development spread to other regions in the Gulf as well; the 1960’s saw the Company’s interest actively executed in Dubai and other parts of the United Arab Emirates, with the purchase of several properties. This type of expansion by a 100% Bahraini company had never been seen before within these areas.
In 1973, the Company gained control over the Canada Dry Bottling and end sales distribution franchise, followed by similar progress with Gulfa Water and other agency products two years later. During this period, the Company was reincorporated as a private corporation with limited liability. The Board of Directors was formed and additional expansion programmes were researched and implemented. The Company, although a Limited Liability Company, remains to this day a family concern.
Later, in 1978, the Interiors Division was formed to supply furniture, fixtures, and domestic appliances for both retail and wholesale to contractors, decorators and property owners. Just one year later, for the first time, the Group ventured into the retailing of foodstuffs and consumer goods with the opening of its Fine Foods Division. This venture thrived and led to the incorporation of the Group’s ‘Fine Foods Branches’ along with the further development of the Foodstuffs Catering Division.
The Group also later gained control of the defunct Bahraini Fishing Company at the Mina Salman Industrial Area. These premises comprise a jetty, warehousing and cold storage facilities, workshops and offices, and are presently in operation as ‘The Hasan & Habib, s/o Mahmood Offshore Supplies and Services Division’.
More recently, the Group’s Chemical Division, ‘Gulf Industrial Chemicals’ was formed in view of the present trends in the Gulf area towards the establishment of various light industries. These trends have led to a need for various industrial chemicals as well as others, which are currently being supplied by this division.
Over the years the Hasan & Habib s/o Mahmood Group of Companies has positioned itself at the forefront of several industries within the Kingdom of Bahrain and occasionally, the region. Its operations and concerns have diversified and developed into many sectors of industry and commerce, but the core of its business, the effective marketing, import and wholesale of commodities in the Middle East, along with its dedication and loyalty to its steadfast customer base has remained unchanged for decades.