The Saudi flour milling industry has been put into full privatisation mode. In January, the first of the mills was sold to a private investor. Image Credit: Agency

Dubai: The investment arm of Dubai’s Al Ghurair Group is adding more capacity to its food interests – this time in Saudi Arabia. In alliance with Al Rajhi Holding Group and Masafi, Al Ghurair Investment has completed the full buyout of Third Milling Company (MC3) from Saudi Grains Organisation (SAGO) and National Center for Privatization and PPP.

“Al Ghurair Investment has a long and proud history in the flour sector, having established Dubai’s first milling company in 1976,” said John Iossifidis, Group CEO, Al Ghurair Investment. “We look forward to bringing this experience to Saudi Arabia and leveraging it to spur the growth and diversification of MC3.”

It was in January that Saudi Arabia privatised its first flour mill.

Regional push
Al Ghurair Foods (AGF) has had interests in flour milling for more than 40 years with an annual capacity of over 1.5 million MT and operational silos of over 230,000 MT for its wheat milling assets.

Additionally, AGF and other Group entities own and operate food production facilities, including an oats mill, rice mill, poultry farm and animal feed plant.

The consortium acquired MC3 following a competitive tender, making it one of the first flour mill acquisitions in the Kingdom. The flour milling sector represents one of the key sectors for full privatisation under Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030.

The Saudi Grains Organization will continue to oversee MC3 in its remit as the regulator of the milling sector and main importer and supplier of wheat, barley and other grains to the milling companies in the Kingdom.

"Masafi being the first bottled water company in the UAE and one of the leading in the region since 1977, we understand the importance and impact of forward-looking proactive initiatives to advance the strategic food security agenda," said Saood Al Ghurair, CEO and Vice-Chairman of Masafi.