INTERVIEW: UAE's Al Ghurair Investment plans to boost food exports

The firm’s resources and foods divisions aim to increase exports by 25 percent by 2020.

02 May 2016
United Arab Emirates-based industrial group Al Ghurair Investment plans to increase its exports of foods and agricultural products by a quarter to more than 10 million tonnes by 2020, a senior official said.

Al Ghurair Resources specialises in grains, oils and proteins and pulses, providing agricultural raw materials to manufacturers and traders of foods, bio-fuels and feed. Al Ghurair Foods provides consumer goods, bulk ingredients to food manufacturers, animal nutrition resources as well as food services to hotels, restaurants and the airline catering industry.

Rashid Al Ghurair, head of the foods and resources committee at Al Ghurair Investment, told Zawya that there is both demand and opportunity for growth and investment in the company's portfolio across Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and Asia Pacific.

"Together between foods and resources we deal with more than 8 million tonnes a year...Our goal for the next few years follows this plan to continually improve what we do, embracing new techniques and technology to help us achieve in excess of 10 million tonnes by 2020," he said in a recent email interview in response to a question on total exports.

"We expect to grow our presence both locally and internationally, and envision at least 80-85 percent of our 2020 volumes to come from international markets."

Al Ghurair Investment is a diversified industrial group with a presence in more than 20 countries. In addition to foods and resources, the group focuses on the construction and property sectors and is also involved in retail, printing, energy and education.

Al Ghurair said that 2015 was a successful year for the group, without disclosing exact figures. "We're pleased with the performance achieved across our investments. We saw growth in several of our foods and resources businesses of over 15 percent, which continues a similar trend for the last four years," he said.

"One project we are very excited about is our cogeneration plant in Jebel Ali. This is a great project which, while it's not been without its challenges, looks set to make a huge impact and will further our commitment to sustainability in our business and a significant reduction on carbon footprint."

The $14 million cogeneration power plant would serve Al Ghurair Resources Refinery and the oils and proteins business in the Jebel Ali Free Zone, the group's CEO Adil Toubia was quoted as saying by UAE media in November 2015. He said the plant would reduce the firm's carbon footprint by 30 percent.

Al Ghurair said the company was always assessing expansion and investment opportunities, but said it was important to "manage resources and focus effectively" since it operated in both mature and emerging markets.

"We are constantly assessing and evaluating the opportunities for expansion and investment. As we operate on both a local and global level we seek to develop our operations and achieve sustainable growth and continued investment," he added.

© Zawya 2016

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