Cargill and ARASCO boost starch production capacity in the Middle East for bakery segment

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

A new corn mill in Saudi Arabia is Cargill's first investment in the Middle East. Pic: Cargill
A new corn mill in Saudi Arabia is Cargill's first investment in the Middle East. Pic: Cargill

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Cargill and ARASCO have inaugurated a new corn mill in Saudi Arabia to meet the growing demand of the region’s fast-growing food and beverage industry.

The Middle East Food Solutions Company (MEFSCO) - formed as part of a joint venture by Cargill and ARASCO (Arabian Agricultural Service Company) in 2013 - will operate the Al-Kharj-based facility.

The corn mill is Cargill’s first investment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (SKA).

It will allow MEFSCO to provide market-specific products for the bakery, confectionery, juice and catering segments for the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), which include Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar.

According to Julian Chase, global Leader for Cargill starches, sweeteners and texturizers, the Middle East food industry is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets.

The plant will double MEFSCO’s starch and glucose production capacities, triple total production volume and expand its product portfolio.

Responding to trends

Ziyad Alsheikh, CEO of MEFSCO, said consumer awareness around food safety and hygiene continues to grow in the Middle East.

“Cargill's expertise in processing agricultural commodities into high-quality sweeteners and starch-based products will provide our regional customers with an edge in making products that respond to this consumer trend.

“Customers will be able to serve the market's demand with products that MEFSCO will manufacture to the strictest food safety and hygiene standards in our state-of-the-art Al-Kharj facility,”​ he said.

Strong quarter offsets lower half

Earlier this year, Cargill posted a decrease in earnings in the first half ended November 30, 2017, despite a strong Q2 201.

Adjusted operating earnings totalled $948 million, an 8% decrease against last year’s $1.03bn, while for the first half, adjusted operating earnings stood at $1.84bn, down 1% from last year.

Second-quarter revenues rose 8% to $29.2bn, bringing the year-to-date figure to $56.5bn.

M&A activities

David MacLennan, Cargill’s chairman and CEO, noted that during the quarter, the company announced more than $1bn in agreed acquisitions, joint ventures and new investments in facilities.

“Thanks to the results of our recent strong performance, we are reinvesting in ways that enable our teams to achieve more for our customers and lead for growth,”​ he said.

Cargill provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world.

The 150-year-old privately held global conglomerate, headquartered in Minnesota, employs 155,000 people in 70 countries and regions worldwide.

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