Consumer foods giant Nestle says that its sales in Saudi Arabia will increase by as much as 20 percent next year, the firm’s Middle East CEO told Bloomberg.
The world’s largest food company has notched up sales of about SAR2.5bn (US$700m) in the GCC’s most populous country so far this year, Yves Manghardt said.
“It’s a very important market for us,” Manghardt told Bloomberg. “Nestle in Saudi Arabia contributes roughly 30 percent of our business in the Middle East.”
In the past two years, Switzerland-based Nestle has added bottling facilities and distribution centres in the kingdom. Since Nestle entered the Middle East in 1997, the company has invested more than US$400m, and now owns and operates 17 factories and employs 7,000 staff.
Nestle forecasts that regional sales will grow from US$1.4bn in 2009 to US$3.3bn in 2017.
“We have provided 230 jobs in Saudi Arabia, 37 percent of them are occupied by Saudis and we aim for that number to reach 40 percent soon,” Roger Meguerdichian, Saudi Arabia country manager, Nestle, told Bloomberg. “Our investment in head-count will increase 30 percent in 2013.”
In June this year, the company announced that it would build a US$136m factory in Dubai World Central, creating about 800 new jobs in the Gulf emirate.