Reuters | 17 November 2009
Saudi-based Almarai Co says it plans to take a 50 percent share of the dairy market in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous nation, by 2013, a report said.
Al-Madina newspaper quoted Hatim Saleh, an Almarai executive, as saying that the Middle East's biggest dairy firm by market value would invest 100 million Egyptian pounds ($18.3 million) to bring the units of its recent Egyptian acquisition, Beyti, to full capacity.
Saleh did not say whether Almarai would solely rely on Beyti, also known as International Company for Agro-Industrial Projects, to achieve its targets.
Almarai, which has been diversifying revenue through acquisitions, has earmarked SR6 billion Saudi ($1.60 billion) for investments up to 2013 to expand its business outside of the Gulf region.
Almarai's operations outside the Gulf region fall under a joint-venture with Pepsico called International Dairy and Juice Company (IDJ) and which was announced in February. Almarai holds a 48 percent stake in IDJ.
French Danone is among the key dairy players in Egypt. IDJ has paid $115 million to buy 100 percent of Beyti, allowing the new joint venture to set foot in Egypt. The price tag also includes a 75-hectare piece of land.
Saleh said Almarai will begin next year a second phase of expansion over this plot of land to add new dairy and juice production lines. He did not elaborate.Beyti is Almarai's second acquisition since December when it acquired a 75 percent stake in Jordanian dairy and juice firm Teeba for $126.4 million. -Reuters