RIYADH: MD RASOOLDEEN | ARAB NEWS STAFF
Published — Tuesday 15 January 2013
Last update 14 January 2013 11:53 pm
The global snacks powerhouse, Mondelez International, inked a joint venture agreement with the Olayan Group and the Khalifa Algosaibi group to manage its sales and distribution operations in the Kingdom.
John Stephenson, director of Sales Mondelez International GCC, signed the agreement with Khaled Al-Olayan, chairman of the Olayan Group and Salah Algosaibi, executive director of Khalifa A. Algosaibi Holding Company, in Riyadh.
The joint venture marks further expansion of one of the world’s biggest snacks companies where its products have been distributed for nearly 100 years throughout the Kingdom. It will also provide more than 300 job opportunities in the Kingdom and the signatories assured that the Saudization program will be strictly followed.
Speaking to Arab News, Stephenson said the joint-venture company is to be called Mondelez Arabia For Trading LLC; and will be managed by Mondelez International to help accelerate growth of its business in the Kingdom.
“The purpose of the joint venture is to serve customers and consumers in the Kingdom better, to be able to react more quickly to consumer tastes and demands and to strengthen its snacking portfolio in the Kingdom,” he said, adding the joint-venture company will commence operations later this year.
The Mondelez Arabia management team will be based in Dhahran in the Eastern Province, with the intention to establish 11 branches located in major cities throughout the Kingdom.
“This is a major step for Mondelez International that demonstrates our long-term commitment to Saudi Arabia, a very important and strategic market of us in the Middle East and Africa.
Stephenson said, pointing out that the Kingdom offers significant growth opportunity with strong GDP expansion. "We intend to grow with it by investing in product innovation, sales techniques, new-sales systems, and by developing a talented work force,” Stephenson noted.
“This new chapter will boost our local presence to serve customers and consumers better through extended coverage, and help create jobs for Saudi nationals. The launch of the JV will help meet our ambition of fast-tracking growth globally. I would like to thank the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) for its support and guidance in helping to bring this partnership to fruition,” he concluded.
“We are very pleased to join forces with Mondelez International once again to strengthen the position of their brands and products that we first began supporting more than 50 years ago when we undertook the distribution of products of General Foods (later Kraft Foods),” Al-Olayan said.
He added that this latest joint venture will further strengthen the ability to serve the Saudi market and will have added benefit of offering job opportunities to Saudis in a wide range of fields and locations.
Algosaibi said the partnership really demonstrates that Mondelez International sees great value in the Kingdom as an important market with a growing population.
He added that International’s iconic brands such as Kraft and Philadelphia cheese, Tang and Cadbury Dairy Milk have been sold in the Kingdom for nearly 100 years.
Responding to a strong demand both locally and across the GCC in 2012, Mondelez International increased production at its Dammam biscuit plant as a joint venture with the Olayan Group, the plant has the capacity to produce 25,000 tons of biscuits and employs approximately 170 people from six countries, of which around 30 percent are Saudi nationals. The popular Oreo biscuit, which celebrated its 100th birthday last year, is made at the plant using over 50 percent of locally sourced ingredients, and is exported across the GCC.
Mondelez International, Inc. is a world leader in chocolate, biscuits, gum, candy, coffee and powdered beverages. The company comprises the global snacking and food brands of the former Kraft Foods Inc. following the spin-off of its North American grocery operations in Oct. 2012.
Mondelez International’s portfolio includes several billion-dollar brands such as Cadbury and Milka chocolate, Jacobs coffee, LU, Nabisco and Oreo biscuits, Tang powdered beverages and Trident gums. Mondelez International has annual revenue of approximately $36 billion and operations in more than 80 countries.