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Sat 23 Aug 2008 10:49 PM

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Saudi Almarai to take over Jordan beverage firm

Move follows recent acquisition of Egyptian firm Beeaty for reported $112mn.

Saudi Arabia's Almarai, the largest dairy company in the Gulf Arab region by market value, said on Saturday it had signed an initial deal to take over a Jordanian beverage firm as part of an expansion plan.

Almarai would buy 75 percent of Taibah's Investment and Advanced Food Co, a dairy and juice manufacturer, and finalise after it conducts a legal, technical and financial audit of the firm, it said in a statement on the bourse website.

The deal comes one week after Almarai said it would buy Egypt's International Company for Agricultural Industrialisation Projects (Beeaty).

Almarai did not say how much it would spend to take over the Jordanian firm. It would pay about $112 million to buy Beeaty, Al-Madinah newspaper reported on Aug. 20, citing unnamed sources from the Egyptian firm.

Almarai, which has been diversifying its revenues through acquisitions, has earmarked 6 billion riyals ($1.6 billion) for investments up to 2013 to expand its business outside of the Gulf Arab region.

The firm's second-quarter profit jumped 42.3 percent on higher sales after it expanded regionally. Shares of Almarai rose 4.28 percent on Aug. 16 after it announced the Beeaty takeover.

The stock is up more than 46 percent this year. (Reuters)

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