Al Khaleej Sugar Company, the largest standalone sugar refinery in the world, produces 1.5 billion metric tonnes of sugar annually at its Jebel Ali Port facility. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: Dubai's Al Khaleej Sugar, owner of the world's largest port-based sugar refinery, has received the green light to build a factory in Spain, which will extens its reach beyond the Middle East and North Africa.

The company plans to start construction of the plant in Merida next year, said Managing Director Jamal Al Ghurair. The agreement between its subsidiary Iberica Sugar and Spanish authorities was signed on Friday.

Expanding beyond MENA

The move comes as Al Khaleej seeks to expand to sugar-beet processing, with a factory in Egypt and now one in Spain.

"We are doing a similar thing to what we did in Egypt," Al Ghurair said, adding that the company had finally managed to expand into Europe.

The new factory will require an investment of about $590 million and will produce as much as 900,000 metric tonnes of sugar a year. That's about the size of the factory in Egypt that the Jamal Al Ghurair group invested in. Operations in Spain are expected to begin in 2024.