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United Biscuits (UB), a British multinational food manufacturer, makers of the BN biscuits, McVitie’s biscuits, Jacob’s Cream Crackers, and Twiglets etc., had recently reached an agreement to purchase all the assets of the Rana Confectionery Products business in Saudi Arabia. The acquisition will be undertaken jointly with UB’s longstanding partner in the Saudi Arabia, Ali Zaid Al-Quraishi & Brothers Company. UB will have a majority stake and will manage the production facility.
Jeff van der Eems, UB’s Chief Executive Officer for international said: “UB has been working alongside our strategic partners to establish McVitie’s as a leading brand in the Middle East. Acquiring a Saudi based manufacturer of branded sweet snacks furthers our ability to serve consumers and customers in the Middle East with a wide range of preferred snacks.”
Yousef Al Quraishi, Managing Director of Ali Zaid Al-Quraishi & Brothers Company said, “Our company enjoys a number of longstanding relationships with respected international market leaders, and this acquisition marks a new level of partnership with UB. We see this acquisition as an opportunity to bring world-class product quality and manufacturing capability to the country; in line with our group’s vision”.
“We see immense opportunity for local value addition by going beyond the traditional distribution model and to provide Saudi and Middle Eastern consumers locally manufactured sweet snacks, produced at similar quality standards to what they would expect to experience in Europe. By shortening the shipping lead times, the products are in the hands of our customers faster and fresher. For our customers, this would also mean availability of a wider choice of quality snacks locally at attractive price points,” he added.
United Biscuits sells its products in over 100 countries. It is already one of the fastest growing biscuit businesses in West Africa, the Middle East and India and is now expanding its footprint into China. Sales in 2013 have risen by 22%. The company has also worked hard to adapt its products to the local markets. For example a biscuit sold in Nigeria is fortified with vitamins and minerals that have been identified as deficient in the local population.
United Biscuits won both the Exporter of the Year Award and the prestigious President’s Award at the Food and Drink Federation awards on November 14. The company’s release noted that the judges recognised that UB has increased its sales outside of the UK and Northern Europe from just 5% of group turnover in 2006 to approximately 15% in 2013, with ambitions to make this 20% by 2016.
The release also stated that the judges were impressed that United Biscuits was bringing quintessentially British products such as the McVitie’s Digestive to a wide global audience and upholding the high standards of the British food industry. Having just announced the acquisition of a new manufacturing facility in the Middle East and with new distribution channels in China, this trend looks set to continue.