RIYADH,(Reuters) – 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 newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Al-Madina newspaper quoted as saying Hatim Saleh, an Almarai executive, 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 6 billion Saudi riyals for ($1.60 billion) for investments up to 2013 to expand its business outside of the Gulf Arab region.
Almarai’s operations outside the Gulf Arab 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.